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never apply it (I speak of the learned among them) to themselves or to their country: themselves, according to Father Visdelou, they describe as the people of Han, or of some other illustrious family, by the memory of whose actions they flatter their national pride ; and their country they call Chúm-cuë, or the Central Kingdom, representing it in their symbolical characters by a parallelogram exactly biffected : at other times they distinguish it by the words Tien-bia, or What is under Heaven, meaning all that is valuable on Earth. Since they never name themselves with moderation, they would have no right to complain, if they knew, that European authors have ever spoken of them in the extremes of applause or of censure : by some they have been extolled as the oldest and the wisest, as the most learned and most ingenious, of nations ; whilst others have derided their pretensions to antiquity, condemned their government as abominable, and arraigned their manners as inhuman, without allowing them an element of science, or a single art, for which they have not been indebted to fome more ancient and more civilized race of men. The truth perhaps lies, where we usually find it, between the extremes ; but it is not my design to accuse or to defend the Chinese, to deprefs or to aggrandize them: I shall confine myself to the dif

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cussion of a question connected with my

former discourses, and far less easy to be solved than any hitherto started. « Whence came the fingular

people, who long had governed China, before

they were conquered by the Tartars ?" On this problem, the folution of which has no concern, indeed, with our political or commercial interests, but a very material connection, if I mistake not, with interests of a higher nature, four opinions have been advanced, and all rather peremptorily asserted, than supported by argument and evidence. By a few writers it has been urged, that the Chinese are an original race, who have dwelled for

if not from eternity, in the land, which they now possess ; by others, and chiefly by the missionaries, it is insisted, that they sprang from the same stock with the Hebrews and Arabs; a third assertion is that of the Arabs themselves and of M. Pauw, who hold it indubitable, that they were originally Tartars descending in wild clans from the steeps of Imaus; and a fourth, at least as dogmatically pronounced as any of the preceding, is that of the Brábmens, who decide, without allowing any appeal from their decision, that the Chinas (for so they are named in Sanscrit) were Hindus of the Chatriya, or military, class, who, abandoning the privileges of their tribe, rambled in different bodies to the north-east of Bengal ; and, forgetting by degrees the rites and religion of their ancestors, established separate principalities, which were afterwards united in the plains and valleys, which are now possessed by them. If

ages,

1

any one of the three last opinions be just, the first of them must necesfarily be relinquished; but of those three, the first cannot possibly be sustained ; because it rests on no firmer support than a foolish remark, whether true or false, that Sem in Chinese means life and procreation ; and because a tea-plant is not more different from a palm, than a Chinese from an Arab : they are men, indeed, as the tea and the palm are vegetables; but human sagacity could not, I believe, discover any other trace of resemblance between them. One of the Arabs, indeed, an account of whose voyage to India and China has been translated by RENAUDOT, thought the Chinese not only handsomer (according to his ideas of beauty) than the Hindus, but even more like his own countrymen in features, habiliments, carriages, manners and ceremonies ; and this may be true, without proving an actual resemblance between the Chinese and Arabs, except in dress and complexion. The next opinion is more connected with that of the Brábmens, than M. Pauw, probably, imagined; for though he tells us expressly, that by Scythians he meant the Turks or Tartars; yet the dragon on the tandard, and some other peculiarities, from which he would infer a clear affinity between the old Tartars and the Chinese, belonged indubitably to those Scythians, who are known to have been Goths; and the Goths had manifestly a common lineage with the Hindus, if his own argument, in the preface to his Researches, on the similarity of language, be, as all men agree that it is, irrefragable. That the Chinese were anciently of a Tartarian stock, is a proposition, which I cannot otherwise disprove for the present, than by insisting on the total diffimilarity of the two races in manners and arts, particularly in the fine arts of imagination, which the Tartars, by their own account, never cultivated; but, if we show strong grounds for believing, that the first Chinese were actually of an Indian race, it will follow that M. Pauw and the Arabs are mistaken: it is to the discussion of this new and, in my opinion, very interesting point, that I shall confine the remainder of my discourse.

In the Sanscrit Institutes of Civil and Religious Duties, revealed, as the Hindus believe, by MENU, the son of BRAHMA', we find the following curious passage : “ Many families of the

military class, having gradually abandoned the « ordinances of the Veda, and the company of

Brábmens, lived in a state of degradation; as “ the people of Pundraca and Odra, those of " Dravira and Camboja, the Yavanas and Sacas, " the Páradas and Pablavas, the Chinas and « some other nations.” A full comment on this text would here be superfluous; but, since the testimony of the Indian author, who, though certainly not a divine personage, was as certainly a very ancient lawyer, moralist, and historian, is direct and positive, disinterested and unsuspected, it would, I think, decide the question before us, if we could be sure, that the word China signified a Chinese, as all the Pandits, whom I have separately consulted, affert with one voice : they assure me, that the Chinas of Menu settled in a fine country to the north-east of Gaur, and to the east of Cámarùp and Népàl ; that they have long been, and still are, famed as ingenious artificers ; and that they had them. selves seen old Chinese idols, which bore a manifest relation to the primitive religion of India before Buddha's appearance in it. A wellinformed Pandit showed me a Sanscrit book in Cashmirian letters, which, he said, was revealed by Siva himself, and entitled Safti fangama: he read to me a whole chapter of it on the hetero dox opinions of the Chinas, who were divided, says the author, into near two hundred clans. I then laid before him a map of Asia; and, when I pointed to Cashmir, his own country, he instantly placed his finger on the north-western provinces of China, where the Chinas, he said,

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