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PROCEEDINGS OF SOCIETIES. Asiatic Society of Paris.—The general anniversary meeting of this Society took place on the 29th April last.
The Baron de Sacy, honorary president, delivered an address, in which he adverted, with much pathos and elegance, to the losses which the Society had sustained during the past year, in MM. Rémusat, de Chézy, Saint Martin, and Kieffer.
The report was then read by M. Burnouf, the secretary. It commenced by stating the embarrassments which the Society had experienced through the death of so many of its members. The Pentaglot Buddhic Vocabulary has been interrupted by the death of M. Rémusat, whose intention was to give the text before his Commentary; only a few pages of this Commentary were written, and the persons most competent to speak are of opinion that there does not exist in Europe any orientalist capable of completing this important undertaking. None of the great works which have been announced for some years by the Society are yet accomplished. A collection of Chinese texts, by the late M. Molinier, entitled Chinese Chrestomathia, is under revision by the council, and promises to be an excellent elementary book. The keys of the Chinese characters, in the work, are indicated according to a new process, from which the inventor, M. St. Julien, expects great advantage will accrue to learners. The Zend characters, the cutting of which was suspended, are finished.
After noticing some of the contents of the Journal Asiatique, the publications of our Oriental Translation Fund, and the editions of Indian works published by the Committee of Public Instruction at Calcutta, on whose labours the Report passes a high eulogiam, it notices the progress of Oriental learning on the Continent of Europe. In Germany, it is observed, the different branches of Oriental literature, vast as they are, continue to attract the attention of a numerous class of philologists, with whose labours are associated, in the hope of one day succeeding them, a rising generation eager for knowledge. The language which, after the Hebrew, has been the most cultivated, is the Arabic. Since the last general meeting, a considerable number of publications have appeared, designed either to diffuse and facilitate the study of this lan. guage, or to make known some unpublished historical works of the Arabs. The Baron de Sacy has published a second edition of his great Grammar, corrected and enriched with considerable additions, including a treatise on prosody. At Göttingen, Mr. Ewald is applying to Arabic grammar the new theories, of which the analyses of Grimm and Bopp offer such perfect models.
“ This is a great and important undertaking, respecting which it is not allowable to form a positive judgment till it is brought to completion."
The report speaks in encomiastic terms of the labours of Messrs. Kosegarten and Fleischer. The former is editing the Annals of Tabari, with a Latin translation (from a MS., unhappily, imperfect), which is characterised
one of the most useful works which have enriched Oriental literature for some years." Mr. Fleischer, of Dresden, is publishing that part of the great work of Abulfeda, which embraces the period antecedent to the epoch of Mahomet; a fragment omitted by Reiske, and which contains a summary of what the Arabians knew respecting the ancient nations of Asia. Mr. Habicht,
of Breslau, continues his elegant Arabic edition of the Thousand and One Nights, the first European edition of this celebrated work. M. von Hammer, of Vienna, has completed the printing of his great Ottoman history, “ in which it is difficult to say which is most worthy of encomium, the vast reading, or the astonishing facility, of the author.”
In Persian literature, less progress has been made than in past years. Manuscripts of Persian authors are now lithographed in India, but few specimens have reached Europe. M. von Hammer has translated into Persian, and printed in a new and elegant Talik character, cut under his own direction, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. “ But what must be regarded as a fortunate circumstance for the promotion of Persian studies in general,” observes the Report, “and particularly for that of the ancient creeds of Media and Bactriana, is the development, within the last few years, of the knowledge of the Zend language. In Germany, M. von Bohlen has attempted to resolve the difficult question respecting the antiquity of this dialect compared with that of the Sanscrit. The investigation of the relations of the Zend with the Sanscrit has been pursued with great zeal by M. Bopp, who has not only inserted in the Latin edition of his Sanscrit Grammar some learned remarks upon the Zend, but has comprised the ancient dialect of Aria in his comparative analysis of the languages of the Sanscritic family, the first portion of which is about to appear.”
After mentioning other Oriental works by Messrs. Bopp, Poley, and Schlegel, the Report adverts to M. Lassen's edition of the Axioms of the Sanchya Philosophy, the Shankara of Mr. Windischmann, jun., and the translation of Mr. Colebrooke's Essays on the Philosophy of the Hindus, by M. Pauthier, all of which are calculated to diffuse a knowledge of the different schools of Hindu metaphysics. “ The Hindu mythology has also made an important acquisition,” it is observed, “ in Colonel Van Kennedy's work on the Affinity of the Hindu myths with those of Ancient Greece and Rome, in which are found translations from some texts, the originals of which are not easily to be procured on the continent. Mr. Coleman has treated the same subject; bis book is specially recommended by the lithographic plates, apparently exact, of various Hindu deities, in the author's own collection. Colonel Tod has completed his beautiful work, the Annals of Rajasthan,—a vast composition, the various merits of which have been long appreciated by every friend of Oriental literature. The courage and patience of the author did not for an instant relax; and after giving to the public the first volume, which excited so lively an attention, his enthusiasm and knowledge have supplied him with the means to compose a second, the best eulogium upon which is to say, that it is worthy of the former.”
The Report then refers to the Oriental works published at Calcutta and Madras, and to the cultivation of the Javanese language by the Society of Arts and Sciences at Batavia, where Mr. Medhurst's Japanese and English vocabulary has been printed. The Report remarks a curious fact regarding this work, namely, that it was composed from Chinese authorities by a person who did not understand Chinese, and was transcribed upon the lithographic stone by a Chinese who knew neither English nor Japanese.
The Notitia Linguæ Sinicæ of F. Prémare, which is now printing at Malacca, under the patronage of Lord Kingsborough, is described as “one of the glories of French erudition.” The knowledge of the Chinese language and literature is represented as daily extending in Europe. At Berlin, M. Schott has published a Latin and German translation of part of the Lun yu; and the collecAsiat.Journ. N.S.VOL. 12. No. 45.
tion of Buddhic works, brought from China by Mr. Neumann, and deposited in the library at Munich,-being subjected to the critical examination of the scholars of Germany, where the Sanscrit, which is indispensable to the perfect understanding of Buddhism, is “almost popular, "-will afford Europe that desideratum.
The publications of Messrs. Overmeer Fisscher and Siebold, relating to Japan, are expected to throw considerable light upon the religious and political history of that empire; and the travels of Baron Schilling de Canstadt to Siberia and the Chinese frontier, will lead to similar illustration of the language, religions, and manners of the people of Central Asia. The vast collection of Mongol and Tibetan works, which he has brought to St. Petersburgh, will furnish Mr. Schmidt with ample materials for prosecuting his researches in the history of Mongolia and Tibet. The Mongol language is one of the avenues to a knowledge of the religious compositions of the Buddhists, in conjunction with the Pali, Singhalese, Burman, Tibetan, and Chinese.
VARIETIES. The Cholera Morbus.—The following phenomenon, related by M. Poussou, of the Lazarist mission at Damascus, in describing the effects of the cholera morbus, on its appearance in that city in 1831, seems to sanction the hypothesis which attributes this disease to atmospheric causes, although the writer states that it was brought by the caravan of pilgrims from Mecca :
“A fact, which has not a little contributed to alarm people here, is a species of phenomenon which is very extraordinary under the sky where we live. At this place, from the end of the rains till their return, that is, from the beginning of May till the month of October, a cloud is never seen, the sky is always pure, the atmosphere free from vapour, the sun rises and sets amid a torrent of light. This year, on the contrary, from about two months since (that is, from the beginning of July), the atmosphere has been very thick, and the sun pale. In the morning, more than an hour before sunrise, the sky in the east is inflamed and as red as blood, whilst the earth and hills are illuminated, or rather tinged, with a dull, lurid and fearful light, similar to that which is cast upon near objects by a great fire in the night. As the sun approaches the horizon, the redness diminishes; but after it has risen, it is more than a quarter of an hour before it can disengage itself from the vapours, through which it appears as if seen behind a piece of gauze. At night, the same spectacle appears in the west. Scarcely has the sun disappeared, before the sky, to an immense height above the horizon, is covered with a reddish tint, which continues to increase for more than half an hour. It then diminishes, but does not wholly disappear till upwards of an hour and a-quarter after sun-set. All the city is terrified at a circumstance which has never been seen before within the memory of man."*
Royale et Spéciale des Langues Orientales Vivantes ; contenant, oulre quelques additions
This is an appropriate accompaniment to M. de Tassy's excellent Rudiments of the Hindustani Language. It consists of twenty-one original Hindu letters (of some of -which engraved fac-similes are given, exhibiting specimens of the written Persian and
. Annales de l'Assoc. de la Propag. April 1832.
Nagari characters), with translations, from various individuals, amongst whom is Ram
Egypt, particularly of the Great Pyramid of Ghizeeh, with its Measurei, as reported by
MR. YEATES (for we may venture to attribute this work to him) has here put forth a variety of learned and very ingenious conjectures respecting a subject of unceasing interest to the historian and antiquary. In the course of his investigations, be discusses the different opinions which have been expressed respecting the object of the pyramids; Mr. Yeates being of opinion that the Great Pyramid was built soon after the Tower of Babel and on the same model, and that the dimensions corresponded with the Ark of Noah, and had reference to the science of ancient astronomy.
The reflections upon the various topics which arise out of these inquiries, relating to early chronology, to the ancient measurements, to the post-diluvian forms of worship, &c. are curious, and manifest erudition and research, A History of Europe during the Middle Ages. Vol. I. Being Vol. XLV. of Dr.
Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopædia. London, 1833. Longman and Co. Taylor. This volume of European history during the sombre ages, contains the history of Italy and Spain, classed in two portions, the Political and Civil, and the Religious and Intellectual. The work appears to be written by the same able hand to wbich we are indebted for the History of Spain and Purtugal, and we have, therefore, no doubt that the succeeding portions will be as well executed as the present, which is an excellent digest, from original historians, of the leading political occurrences in those countries. Hermes Britannicus. A Dissertation on the Celtic Deily Teutales, the Mercurius of
Cæsar, in further Proof and Corroboration of the Origin and Designation of the Great
A WORK of interest to British antiquaries, and the explorers of Druidical mysteries.
with a Prefatory Notice, Literary and Political, of his Romances. By the Translator
The reputation of M. Victor Hugo is extending itself widely. His forte is evidently wbat may be denominated Dramatic Romance. The tale before us is one of supernatural interest, in wliich much of the tact of Shakespeare is associated with the historical and antiquarian skill of Walter Scott and the imaginative horrors of the German School. We have a monster more formidable than Caliban, a gypsy nymph' of more spiritual character than any of the semi-sprites of the Waverley novels, and an ecclesiastic whose analogous career and horrible fate make him an object of more painful curiosity than the Ambrosio of Monk Lewis liimself. The author has certainly evinced surprising power and skill in the natural and probable as well as in the unnatural and improbable parts of his tale. The narrative is lively and piquant ; the style, however, owes much of its epigrammatic complexion to the translator. The work is, indeed, not strictly a translation, so much as an adaptation of the tale, though it is far too lavishly besprinkled with untranslated words, names, and passages, to be agreeable to the English reader.
Some long interpolations by the translator—such as his ultra-radical and vulgar effusions
Charles Cowden CLARKE, Illustrated with Fourteen wood Engravings. London,
MR. Clarke deserves much praise for this ingenious and highly successful attempt
Instruction and Amusement of his Eldest Son. London, 1833. Hailes.
nomy. By Thomas Ewing. Fourteenth Edition. Edinburgh, Oliver and Boyd.
Ora school-book which has reached a fourteenth edition, and must, therefore, have been approved by the best judges of its worth, it can be only necessary to say that it appears to have been diligently corrected according to the results of modern discoveries.
LITERARY INTELLIGENCE. We are happy to announce that Sir Graves Haughton's Bengáli and Sanskrit Dictionary, explained in English, has passed the press.
A Map of China and the Adjacent Countries, including Corea, part of Japan, the Islands of Formosa, Philippines, &c., compiled from the charts of Capt. Ross and other surveyors of the East-India Company, and the latest and most authentic documents, is now in the hands of the engraver. It will occupy one large sheet.
Excursions in the Holy Land, Egypt, Nubia, &c., with Rambles through the Provinces of the Turkish Empire, including a Journey across the Desert to Cosseir, by J. Maddox, Esq., is preparing for publication.
The Dean of Salisbury is preparing the Memoirs of the Rev. C. F. Swartz.
A History of Madagascar, in connection with the Protestant Mission, from its commencement in 1818 to the present time, by the Missionaries on the Island, is in the press.
Travels and Researches in Caffraria, by Stephen Kay, Corresponding Member of the South African Institution, is preparing.
The missionaries of the London Society, employed in the Buriat-Mongolian mission in Siberia, have completed a translation of the whole Scriptures into the Mongolian language, which has undergone repeated revisions, and is now in a state of preparation for the press. The Emperor Nicholas has granted permission for the printing of this great work at the Society's mission-press at Selenginsk, in the government of Irkutsk, The missionaries have also prepared several philological and scientific works, amongst which is a Mongolian dictionary.