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coast, and pepper .country, however, confine us within certain lio mits : for, in the course to Muziris, the traders passed near the pirate's stations; and as these, by the lights which I have received from Pliny and Ptolemy, were nearly the same as the present (that is, between Bombay and Goa). I conceive the trading ports meant by Pliny, were situated between Goa and Tellicherry. The Periple of the Indian sea, and the geography of Ptolemy, throw somne faint light on the subject.
Ptolemy's ideas are these: Tyndis (going southward) succeeds Nitria ; then Muziris ; Becare (which is one of the readings of Barace) Melcynda, or Nelcynda; Cottiara ; and then Comaria, or Cape Comorin ; whose proper name is Komrin or Komry. And the Periple (my information is from M. D'Anville) enumerates in the same order, Tyndis, Muziris, and Barace : allowing 500 stadia between each, respectively. No three places appear more convenient to this relative disposition, and to the circumstances of the pirate coast and pepper country, than Goa, Meerzaw (vulgarly, Merjoe) and Barcelore, or Baffinore. The first, namely, Goa, is just clear of the pirate coaft: having Newtya, possibly the Nitrias of Pliny and Ptolemy (near which the pirates cruised on the Roman vessels in their way to Muziris) on the north of it. The second place, Meerzaw, or Merjee, has even some affinity in sound, with Muziris 5
and is situated on a river, and at some distance from the fea, And. Barcelore, or Bassinore, which may possibly be Barace, is one of the principal pepper factories, at present : ,and therefore answers so far to. Barace. Nelcynda, I take to be Nelisuram : and do not, with M. D'Anville, suppose Barace to be the port of Nelcynda, but a distinct place. It is said by Pliny, to be fituated within the kingdom of Pandion; which is pretty well understood to be Madura ; or to be comprised, at least, within the southern part of the peninsula : and therefore, the farther south we go for Nelcynda, the less we are likely to err. But even all this is conjecture, as far as relates to particular positions : nor is it of much
consequence : for we are clear that the ports of merchandise, must be fituated, in or near to the country of Canara, the Cottonara, or pepper country of Pliny: that is, between Goa and Tellicherry ; as before observed..
The ships returned from the coast of India, about the month of December, with the north-east monsoon : and when entered into the Red fea, they had a south, or fouth-west wind : fo says Pliny. The voyage was made much within the compass of a year: and the profits are stated to be immense : but the particulars of the cargoes are not recorded.
There are no notices in Pliny (as far as I know) concerning any voyages of the Romans, to the gulf of Bengal, or to the peninsula of Malay (the golden Chersonese) although it is clear from Strabo, who wrote before Pliny, that the Ganges had then been failed up, as high as Palibothra. Ptolemy's geography, said to be composed about 60 years after Pliny, contains evident proofs that both of the Indian peninsulas had been explored : such is the mention of the pearl fishery, between Ceylon and the continent; the diamonds found on the banks of the Sumbulpour river; and the point from whence ships that traded to the Malay coast, took their departure (suppofed to be Point Gordeware :) besides many names, that can hardly be misunderstood in the application of them as Arcati, the capital of the Sore (or Sora-mandalum, from whence corruptly Choromandel) Mefolia, the district which contains Masulipatam; the river Cauvery, under the name of Chaboris, &c. The peninsula beyond the Ganges is also described in Ptolemy, as far as Cochin China, or perhaps, to the borders of China, or Sina. (See M. D'Anville's Antiquité Geographique de L'Inde.) We may here observe also, by the way, that the islands scattered over the gulf of Bengal, in Ptolemy, and probably meant for the Andaman and Nicobar islands; are most of them laid to be inhabited by Anthropophagi': and this idea has also been adopted by the modern navigators. Other islands, which may be meant either
for certain parts of Sumatra, or for some of the islands that lie ex. tended along the western side of it, are also branded with the same character : and we find by Mr. Marfden, that it is generally be, lived, that man-eaters exist in Sumatra, even at this day. I refer the Bona Fortunæ illand to the Great Andaman, and the 10 Maniola, to the northern Nicobars; being just the number of them : the 5 Barasa, and
3 Şinde islands, together with the 3 Saba-diba ; are the islands I allude to, as being either parts of Sumatra, or ilands near it.
Sketches of the History of HINDOOSTAN, since the Commencement
of the MAHOMEDAN CONQUESTS.
There is no known history of Hindoostan (that rests on the foundation of Hindoo materials or records) extant, before the period of the Mahomedan conquests: for either the Hindoos kept no regular histories; or they were all destroyed, or fecluded frorn common eyes by the Pundits. We may judge of their traditions, by that existing, concerning Alexander's expedition: which is, that he fought a great battle with the Emperor of Hindooftan, near Delhi: and though victorious, retired to Persia, across the northern mountains : fo that the remarkable circumstance of his failing down the Indus, in which he employed many months, is funk altogether. And yet, perhaps, few events of ancient times, rest on better foundations, than this part of the history of Alexander (see Section III. of the Memoir) as appears by its being so highly celebrated, not only by his cotemporaries, but by feveral of the most celebrated authors, for fome centuries following. As for the notices above referred to, in Herodotus, Pliny, and Arrian, &c.
they are rather transient views of the then state of Hindoostan, with a general account of manners and customs; than a history. Not but that these accounts are infinitely more pleasing and satisfactory, than a history would have been, if it contained nothing more than that of the Mahomedan conquests : that is, an account of battles and massacres : an account of the subversion of (apparently) one of the mildest, and most regular 'governments in the world, by the vilest and most unworthy of all conquerors : for such the Mahomedans undoubtedly were, considered either in refpect to their intolerant principles; contempt of learning, and science ; habitual sloth; or their imperious treatment of women: to whose lot, in civilised-focieties, it chiefly falls, to form the minds of the rising generation of both sexes; as far as early lessons of virtue and morality may be fupposed to influence them.
The travels of Colinas in the 6th century, and of the two Mahomedan travellers in the gth, afford few materials for history : and but little can be gleaned from Marco Paulo, who crossed the peninsula, and went up the western fide of it, to Guzerat, in the 13th century. Indeed, it is exceeding difficult to refer
incident related in this last author, to any particular country; as the geography of his travels is an enigma, for the most part.
It is chiefly to Persian pens that we are indebted for that portion of Indian history, which we poffefs. The celebrated Mahomed Ferishta, early in the 17th century, compiled a history of Hindoostan, from various materials; most of which, in the idea of Col. Dow (who gave a translation of this history to the world, about 20 years ago) were collected from Perfian authors." The Mahabarut, an historical poein of high antiquity, and which I understand, Mr. Wilkins is now translating from the original Sanscrit (as he has already done an episode of it, under the title of Bhagvat Geeta), is supposed to contain a large portion of interesting historical matter : but if the father of Grecian poetry made so total a change in the story of Helen, in order to give a full scope to his imagina
tion; what security have we that another poet may not mislead us in matters of fact; that is, in all that is valuable in history, considered as such ? Mr. Dow was far from supposing that the Hindoos were destitute of genuine histories of their own country: he was not indeed acquainted with the Sanscrit language, in which they must be written, if at all : but founded his belief on the information of people on the spot. If the specimens of early Hindoo history given in the Ayin Acbaree, are akin to those which Mr. Dow had in contemplation, I confess I can place no dependance on them. The most valuable part of Ferishta's history, he allows to be that, posterior to the first Mahomedan conquests, about the year 1000 : and the following abstract of it is offered to the reader's notice, in order to fix in his mind, an idea of the succeffive changes in the state of the empire of Hindoostan; which from a pure Hindoo government, became a Mahomedan one; and continued to be so, under various dynasties of Monarchs, from Perfia, Afghanistan, and Tartary ; until the beginning of the present century: these Princes, noreover, adding to the original country of Hindooftan, all the other provinces situated within the Ganges. This unweildy state then dropping to pieces, anarchy succeeded; which in most parts of it, is scarcely composed at present: and which had nearly given rise to a new Hindoo empire, under the Mahrattas : but the intervention of foreign powers, prevented it. Lastly, one of those foreign powers seizing on the fairest provinces, and taking the lead in the empire, although removed from it, the distance of an actual route of fifteen thousand miles * !
Even after the commencement of the Mahomedari conquests, we find little more in Ferishta, save the histories of the empire of Ghizni (or Gazna) and Delhi; until the subjection of all Hindoostan, by the Patan Emperors in the beginning of the 13th century : for Hindoostan continued to be divided into a number of separate
• No part of the Roman empire, was distant from its capital, by the most circuitous route, more than 2800 miles.