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length in the infancy of navigation, beyond them both : that they cultivated no liberal arts, and had no use of letters, but formed a variety of dialects, as their tribes were variously ramified ; that, secondly, the children of HAM, who founded in Iràn itself the monarchy of the first Chaldeans, invented letters, obferved and named the luminaries of the firmament, calculated the known Indian period of four hundred and thirtytwo thousand years, or an hundred and twenty repetitions of the faros, and contrived the old system of Mythology, partly allegorical, and partly grounded on idolatrous veneration for their sages and lawgivers; that they were dispersed at various intervals and in various colonies over land and ocean;
that the tribes of Misr, Cush, and RAMA settled in Africk and India; while some of them, having improved the art of failing, passed from Egypt, Phenice, and Pbrygia, into Italy and Greece, which they found thinly peopled by former emigrants, of whom they supplanted some tribes, and united themselves with others; whilst a swarm from the same hive moved by a northerly course into Scandinavia, and another, by the head of the Oxus, and through the passes of Imaus, into Cashghar and Eigbúr, Khatá and Kboten, as far as the territories of Chin and Tancút, where letters have been used and arts immemorially cultivated ; nor is it unreasonable to believe, that some of them found their way from the eastern isles into Mexico 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 Allyrians under Cayu'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 Phenice ; 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 ifles 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
considerable remains in their several countries the time of MUHAMMED's birth, is now complished ; succinctly, from the nature of the è essays ; imperfedly, from the darkness of the subject and scantiness of my materials, but clerly 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 sedulous and united inquiries into the history, science, and arts, of these Asiatick 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 course be our endeavour, cannot long be happy without virtue, nor actively virtuous without freedom, nor fecurely free without rational knowledge.
DELIVERED 28 FEBRUARY, 1793.
ON ASIATICK HISTORY, CIVIL AND NATURAL.
BEFORE our entrance, gentlemen, into the disquisition, promised at the close of 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 described 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 folid 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
nefit of every
this world, yet, in the midst of his most active exertions, he cannot but feel the substantial beliberal amusement, which may
luil his passions to rest, 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 econoinical 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 practical, and by no means illiberal,
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 Historical; 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 same three heads, to which our European analysts have ingeniously reduced all the branches