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equal degree of credit, in his account of all civil transactions, with any other historian of antiquity: how far that most ancient writer confirms the result of our inquiries into the genealogy of nations, I propose to show at our next anniversary meeting; when, after an approach to demonstration, in the strict method of the old analysis, I shall resume the whole argument concisely and fynthetically; and shall then have condensed in seven discourses a mass of evidence, which, if brevity had not been my object, might have been expanded into seven large volumes with no other trouble than that of holding the pen ; but (to borrow a turn of expression from one of our poets) « for what I “ have produced, I claim only your indulgence; « it is for what I have suppressed, that I am “ entitled to your thanks.”
DISCOURSE THE NINTH.
THE ORIGIN AND FAMILIES OF NATIONS.
DELIVERED 23 FEBRUARY, 1792,
YOU have attended, gentlemen, with so much indulgence to my discourses on the five Asiatick nations, and on the various tribes established along their several borders or interspersed over their mountains, that I cannot but flatter myself with an assurance of being heard with equal attention, while I trace to one centre the three great families, from which those nations appear to have proceeded, and then hazard a few conjectures on the different courses, which they may be supposed to have taken toward the countries, in which we find them settled at the dawn of all genuine history.
Let us begin with a short review of the propositions, to which we have gradually been led, and separate such as are morally certain, from such as are only probable: that the first race of Persians and Indians, to whom we may add the Romans and Greeks, the Goths, and the old Egyptians or Etbiops, originally spoke the same language and professed the same popular faith, is capable, in
my humble opinion, of incontestable proof; that the Jews and Arabs, the Allyrians, or second Persian race, the people who spoke Syriack, and a numerous tribe of Abysinians, used one primitive dialect wholly distinct from the idiom just mentioned, is, I believe, undisputed, and, I am sure, indisputable ; but that the settlers in China and Japan had a common origin with the Hindus, is no more than highly probable; and, that all the Tartars, as they are inaccurately called, were primarily of a third feparate branch, totally differing from the two others in language, manners, and features, may indeed be plausibly conjectured, but cannot, for the reasons alledged in a former effay, be perspicuously shown, and for the present therefore must be merely assumed. Could these facts be verified by the best attainable evidence, it would not, I presume, be doubted, that the whole earth was peopled by a variety of shoots from the Indian, Arabian, and Tartarian branches, or by such intermixtures of them, as, in a course of
ages, might naturally have happened.
Now I admit without hesitation the aphorisin of LINNÆUS, that“ in the beginning God
« created one pair only of every living species,
, “ which has a diversity of sex;" but, since that incomparable naturalist
argues principally from the wonderful diffusion of vegetables, and from an hypothesis, that the water on this globe has been continually subsiding, I venture to produce a shorter and closer argument in support of his doctrine. That Nature, of which simplicity appears a distinguishing attribute, does nothing in vain, is a maxim in philosophy; and against those, who deny maxims, we cannot dispute ; but it is vain and superfluous to do by many means what may be done by fewer, and this is another axiom received into courts of judicature from the schools of philosophers : we must not, therefore, says our great Newton, admit more causes of natural things, than those, which are true, and sufficiently account for natural phenomena ; but it is true, that one pair at least of every living species must at first have been created ; and that one human pair was sufficient for the population of our globe in a period of no confiderable length (on the very moderate supposition of lawyers and political arithmeticians, that every pair of ancestors left on an average two children, and each of them two more), is evident from the rapid increase of numbers in geometrical progression, so well known to those, who have ever taken the trouble to fum a series
of as many terms, as they suppose generations of men in two or three thousand years. It follows, that the Author of Nature (for all nature proclaims its divine author) created but one pair of our fpecies; yet, had it not been (among other reasons) for the devastations, which history has recorded, of water and fire, wars, famine, and pestilence, this earth would not now have had room for its multiplied inhabitants. If the human race then be, as we may confidently assume, of one natural species, they must all have proceeded from one pair ; and if perfect justice be, as it is most indubitably, an essential attribute of GOD, that pair must have been gifted with sufficient wisdom and strength to be virtuous, and, as far as their nature admitted, happy, but intrusted with freedom of will to be vicious and consequently degraded: whatever might be their option, they must people in time the region where they first were established, and their numerous descendants must necessarily seek new countries, as inclination might prompt, or accident lead, them; they would of course migrate in separate families and clans, which, forgetting by degrees the language of their common progenitor, would form new dialects to convey new ideas, both simple and complex; natural affection would unite them at first, and a sense of re.ciprocal utility, the great and only cement of