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sive knowledge, sound judgment, great perspicuity, a certain method, and an imagination at once active and regulated, may lead to conclusions as exact as those at which we arrive in any other science, and much more certnin than the results obtained in most questions submitted to the mere exercise of the judgment. The reason of this is, that we operate upon facts which, though infinitely varied and numerous, are nevertheless artless witnesses, above all suspicion, and always ready to depose with the most impartial indifference, whenever we are willing, in perfect sincerity of mind, to act the part of mere examiners, and to abstain from all prejudice or secret bias, voluntary or involuntary, for the establishment of a system or the triumph of a favourite opinion. Let us not deceive ourselves: in these matters, as in many others, the force of predilection always exercises a deep and vast influence over the ultimate result which we propose in the study of science and letters, which is the knowledge of absolute truth; here, as well as elsewhere, the real progress of science has been arrested by a multitude of particular systems, insomuch that the best executed works are more or less contaminated with an original defect. In the arguments of writers, we invariably detect a desire to exalt such or such a consideration, on behalf of some study or object of predilection. For a long time we were allowed to examine and study the early epochs of the history of mankind only through Phænician etymologies and certain eccentric conceptions deduced from the Hebrew language. Other scholars, subdued by the charm of the divine language of Homer, and reflecting upon the immense influence which, in an intellectual point of view, the Greek nation has really exerted over a vast portion of the ancient world, repelled, and still repel, as a heresy, the idea that we should seek in more remote and purer sources the origin of that language and those conceptions which we have been so long accustomed to admire.
Since the fate of arms has placed under the dominion of one of the most civilized people of Europe, the only one of the early Oriental nations which has preserved till the present time its individuality, and the treasures of its science and wisdom, studious spirits have devoted themselves with ardour to new researches: the sacred language of the philosophers of the Indus and the Ganges has become the object of peculiar study. The most ancient Sanscrit texts are read, translated, discussed. Long works and painful researches cannot be executed without a small degree of enthusiasm, which inevitably exercises a certain fascination : hence, one set of prejudices are substituted for another. But the impartial philosopher is not slow to perceive this; he adopts what appears to him worthy of confidence : he corrects what may have been a little warped in favour of a particular opinion or predilection, and he rejects whatever is merely the unavoidable effect of involuntary deception, and the result of a too impassioned pursuit, of which he nevertheless avails himself, and which is perhaps the only means of producing an assiduity and application, sufficient to triumph over the innumerable difficulties which beset such investigations.
Two centuries ago, all was Hebrew or Phænician; now every thing becomes · Hindu. Language, religion, philosophy, all have an Indian origin, convinced as we are of the remote antiquity of the Hindus, and of their legitimate pretensions to be considered as the most ancient people in the world ; and all this without our ever having had proof of it. The slightest similitudes are wrested, in order to establish origins and a succession of facts, which are regarded and promulgated as incontestable, before examining whether the contrary may not be true, or whether there is no other possible way of resolving
the problem. In fact, although it is undeniable that the civilization, the language, the religion, and the philosophical systems of the Hindus really reach back to a remote period, it is equally certain that the ancient continent comprehended other countries, which, at periods of great antiquity, were vast foci of intelligence, peace, and civilization. Can it be believed, for instance, that the great capitals, which were almost coeval with the human race, on the banks of the Nile and the Euphrates, did not operate very actively, and even at different times, on various nations, and on the Hindus themselves? Have we any pledge that the purity of the revered source was unalterable? More than one well-founded objection rises against such suppositions : the earliest pages of the history of mankind reveal to us the nations of the countries situated between the Mediterranean and the Indus, extending, by the force of their arms, their influence in every direction. How many things follow in the train of conquest ! Languages, laws, manners, religions, sciences, are propagated, established, and perpetuated, long after the power which brought them to a foreign soil has ceased to exist. The empire of the Romans has been long extinct; yet we are still incessantly reminded of its existence in the regions formerly subject to its rule. Written history, and the memory of man, teach us nothing of this kind with reference to the Hindus. The ancients, like the moderns, represent them, in the same manner as docile subjects of every conqueror who appeared in India; strangers, at every period, to warlike enterprize; their political existence being bounded between their sacred rivers and the lofty mountains which shield them on the north, they were as little anxious to acquire stores of foreign knowledge as to communicate their own to their barbarous neighbours, whom they disdained to know, yet to whose laws and sway they, from time to time, submitted. This being the case, and nothing proving or even suggesting that it was otherwise, is it possible, I ask, to shew that the languages, the institutions, the mythological and philosophical conceptions of Greece and Italy, could have received their birth on the banks of the Indus and the Ganges, at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains ? Would not the seductive climate of India, therefore, exercise in former times the same enervating influence upon its inhabitants as it does now ? Could more valiant warriors have been produced in a nation, which does not appear to have ever conquered a neighbour? Did those Hindus, at long intervals, and often surmounting innumerable difficulties, carry their arms, their language and their institutions, into remote, unknown, and savage regions, far inferior, in every respect, to the fair countries bathed by the Ganges and Indus? Shall we have recourse to some new hypothesis to explain the incontestable resemblances which unite the tongues of Greece, Italy, and India, if we cannot account for them by conquering colonies ? Shall we seek the cause in the irresistible influence of civilization over barbarism ? Shall we suppose that ancient nations, charmed with the excellence of the laws, the manners, the religions, the philosophical and literary doctrines of the Hindus, made a pilgrimage to India, as to the purest source, in order to obtain the first notions of religious and social organization ? But the privileged individuals who journied to drink at this sacred source, would bring, back ideas, not languages, which they could not impose upon their countrymen. If we suppose the converse of the case, namely, that, anxious to impart their knowledge to others, peaceful Hindu missionaries carried their owọ tongue into distant regions, they would not be long in finding out that it was far more useful as well as expeditious for thein to learn the language of the people whom they wish to civilize ; for if they employed their maternal tongue
to communicate their opinions to such people, they would impart to them nothing besides the terms necessary to express them. Neither antiquity, nor the Hindus themselves, furnish us with any indication whence we can infer that they have ever exercised such an influence over the nations of Europe. So far from it, the imperfect notices which have been transmitted to us seem to lead to a contrary presumption. Those ancient heroes, whom it pleased the Greeks to decorate with the names of Hercules and Bacchus, were not Indians, but conquerors of India. I do not certainly presume to infer any thing from those obscure mythological testimonies, the antiquity and isolated character of which place them without the pale of scientific discussion; neither do I presume to lay down, that Sanscrit words are derived from identical expressions furnished in Greek and Latin ; but I see no sufficient reason for admitting the contrary. It is possible that other systems may afford a solution of this problem. I am well aware that those who have devoted themselves to the study of the sacred dialect of India, and its relations with the languages of the west, have not declared positively that they assign a priority of origin to the Sanscrit; but if they have not formally pronounced their judgment upon this point, this principle is implied by them. Whenever they compare expressions taken from these different tongues, the Sanscrit is placed in the first rank; the Greek and Latin are admitted only as the progeny of Sanscrit; they assume as a descent what may be no more than a relationship, and a relationship in the ascending scale. This is, I may be permitted to say, too lightly resolving a question which is obscure and extremely complicated, by its antiquity as much as by the paucity of the documents in the cause. How can we flatter ourselves with the hope of discovering the truth, when we voluntarily or involuntarily place ourselves in a false point of view ? Facts are changed and perverted, and all the learning in the world cannot prevent our arriving at fallacious or improbable results, which will long encumber the road to truth, and often, for a considerable time, at least, forbid our attaining that object. Before we decide, therefore, it behoves us to examine all the documents attentively and in full; to interrogate the witnesses, even those who appear to be the least well-informed; to weigh maturely the discordant arguments which embarrass the question, and never to forget that sometimes, even after fulfilling all these obligations, the conscience of the judge may not have an equal conviction upon every point.
It is admitted that all the languages of Europe, ancient and modern, exhibit in their words, and their grammatical forms, numerous analogies with the Sanscrit, the most ancient, and doubtless the parent of all the dialects of India.* This is an indisputable and perfectly well-recognized point; but this is nearly all. It is, however, conceded, though without being previously established, that the Sanscrit is anterior to all the other languages of the same family: this appears to me a pure petitio principii. In order to arrive at a decisive conclusion on this point, it is necessary that we should,-laying aside all historical considerations,-examine and scrutinize the problem under all its aspects; enter into all the niceties of the language; compound and decompound the words, and take a far more exact note than has hitherto been done of the smallest circumstances of similarity or dissimilarity; of the changes they have undergone in their use and acceptation; of the manner in which they have been altered on one side or the other; of their office in the mass of
.“ The opinion here enunciated by M. Saint Martin," observes the editor of the Journal Asiatique, " sufficiently proves that the date of this fragment is anterior to the researches lately prosecuted respecting the origin of the dialects or languages of the South of India."
phrases ; of their connexion with other expressions, and with other modes of speech belonging to dialects of another family, it is necessary especially to pursue the slight deviations of meaning, frequently multiplied, which words almost invariably undergo, in their transition from one country to another, or from one age to another ; it is necessary to pay attention, at the same time, to the permutations of letters and syllables, some of which permutations are easily explained, whilst others, though not the less incontestable, can only be established by means of examples; it is necessary, in short, to sum up all, to collect together the numerous circumstances which constitute, so to speak, the history of a word, and the different periods of its existence, without stopping, as is too often the practice, at mere lexicographical comparisons, which, bringing loosely together two analogous expressions, make nothing apparent but their affinity.
The Greek, the Latin, the Welch, and Bas-Breton, the Irish and the Scottish Gaelic, the ancient German, the Meso-Gothic, the Icelandic or ancient Scandinavian, the Anglo-Saxon, and all the dialects of the same origin, all the Slavonic tongues, the Lithuanian and the dialects which are connected with it, the Albanian and Finnish languages, all exhibit some relations with the Sanscrit. *
ROUTE OF LIEUT. BURNES AND DR. GERARD FROM
PESHAWAR TO BOKHARA.
The travellers reached Pésháwar about the 15th March, Kabul on the 1st May, Khulm on the 30th May, and Balkh before the 10th of June. They appear to have made twenty-six marches to the latter place, and to have traversed a space of about five hundred miles. They were induced to stop about sixty-one days at the principal cities on their way; of which thirty-four were spent at Pésháwar, seventeen at Kabúl, and ten at Khulm.
“ The trip from Pésháwar to Kabúl was very harassing, and to me (ill of fever) superlatively so. The country is naturally difficult, and our merciless guide drove us about, regardless of heat and cold, rain and shelter. Our stay in Kabúl was too short to recover such an exertion, and I left that place in the same state of health as I arrived. Dost Mahommed Khan's treatment of us was highly satisfactory, and more than we durst have relied upon, considering the position he occupies. We had none of the assiduous attentions and caresses of his brother at Pésháwar : his character does not admit of familiarity, while his situation equally forbids it; but his civilities were of the first estimation. Kabúl is rising into power under his republican spirit of government, and I should say, is destined to an importance in spite of itself, for in every view it is the key to India. It is astonishing how much the country is relieved by the overthrow of the royal dynasty; and with respect to the latest reigns of the Timúr family, the change in the condition of things for the better, is not more wonderful than it is natural. In Shah Shujah's haughty career, here, robberies and bloodshed disgraced the precincts of his court. Dost Mahommed's citizen-like demeanor and resolute simplicity have suited the people's understanding; he has tried the effect of a new system, and the experiment has succeeded.
“ We may soon have to ask Sultan Muhammed for a supply of coals to
navigate the Indus; mines have been discovered. Moorcroft searched in vain for seams, but no doubt the people took up the hint. The specimens brought to us indicate the variety to be what is termed anthracite, or slate-coal, and consequently as fuel is very meagre; but this may be the exterior crust or shell, and when penetrated, a richer material may be discovered. We saw it in thin plates of a concave-convex form; the fracture was grey but without any lustre, and it soiled paper; at first I took it for graphite or plumbago, and I shall not be surprised if that mineral is contiguous. It burnt by the flame of a candle, and gave out a dense gas. The mine is in the district of Kohát, in the plain-ward hills, and therefore most conveniently situated at the navigable extremity of the Indus. I hear there are mines in Cutch, which thus sets the question of physical capabilities at rest, and supplies the only remaining desideratum. Sultan Muhammed Khan would be delighted at the proposal of working the coal seams, for reciprocal advantages must flow from such a medium. There are also sulphur seams in Kohát; and adjacent, even conterminous with that estate, is the fertile country of the Wazírís, famed I believe for a superior breed of horses, and report says, rich in indications of auriferous and other precious ores. Moorcroft paid a visit to that district, and I suspect that he was aware of its mineral deposits. The whole of Afghánistán teems with the germs of metallic treasures, but it may be long ere we become better acquainted with those hidden stores. I was disappointed in not discovering any traces of shells or fossils on the route to Kabúl; but we durst scarcely look around us. I was too ill besides, and our journey was too precipitate for any
“ We entered Kabúl, after a fatiguing journey, at four o'clock, having been twenty-four hours from the last encampment, and I was in a high state of corporeal suffering during that long period, with a fever raging in my blood, and a fiery heat in my face, which has latterly burned to parchment. One is not disappointed in the display of Kabúl, after the uniformly arid aspect of the surrounding country; but it is in this contrast, rather than in any peculiar scenery, that we are delighted with the spot. Frail mud houses, which seem only to be renewed by the accessions of patch-work, forın a penurious threshold to a great entrepôt of commerce; but when the bazar opens, one is amply gratified by a scene which, for luxury and real comfort, activity of business, variety of objects and foreign physiognomy, has no living model in India. The fruits which we had seen out of season at Pésháwar loaded every shop; the masses of snow for sale threw out a refreshing chill, and sparkled by the sun's heat; the many strange faces and strange figures, each speaking in the dialect of his nation, made up a confusion more confounded than that of any Babel ; but with this difference, that here the mass of human beings were intelligible to each other, and the work of communication and commerce went on. The covered part of the bazar, which is entered by lofty portals, dazzled my sight, even quite as much as the show of the Himalayan peaks, when reflected against the setting sun. In these stately corridors, the shops rise in benches above each other; the various articles, with their buyers and sellers regularly arranged in tiers, represent so many living strata. The effect of the whole was highly imposing, and I feel at a loss adequately to describe the scene presented to our eyes.
“ The climate of Kabúl was considerably colder than I was prepared for, when the barometer announced an elevation of 6,000 feet. The morning temperature varied between 439 and 47°, and 66° was commonly the maximum of the day; while, in the house, 61° and 63° were the extremes, and this temAsiat. Journ. N.S. VOL. 12. No.46.