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recorded, should indisputably be made publick; but let us not expect any new methods, or the analysis of new curves, from the geometricians of Iran, Turkistan, or India. Could the works of ARCHIMEDES, the Newton of Sicily, be restored to their genuine purity by the help of Arabick versions, we might then have reason to triumph on the success of our scientifical inquiries; or could the successive improvements and various rules of Algebra be traced through Arabian channels, to which CARDAN boasted that he had access, the modern History of Mathematicks would receive considerable illustration.
The Jurisprudence of the Hindus and Muselmans will produce more immediate advantage; and, if some standard law-tracts were accurately translated from the Sanscrit and Arabick, we might hope in time to see so complete a Digest of Indian Laws, that all disputes among the natives might be decided without uncertainty, which is in truth a disgrace, though satirically called a glory, to the forensick science.
All these objects of inquiry must appear to you, Gentlemen, in so strong a light, that bare intimations of them will be sufficient; nor is it necessary to make use of emulation as an incentive to an ardent pursuit of them: yet I cannot forbear expressing a wish, that the activity of the French in the same pursuits may not be superior
to ours, and that the researches of M. SonNERAT, whom the court of Versailles employed for seven years in these climates, merely to collect such materials as we are seeking, may kindle, instead of abating, our own curiosity and zeal. If you assent, as I flatter myself you do, to these opinions, you will also concur in promoting the object of them; and a few ideas having presented themselves to my mind, I presume to lay them before you, with an entite fubmiffion to your judgement.
No contributions, except those of the literary kind, will be requisite for the support of the society; but, if each of us were occasionally to contribute a succinct description of such manuscripts as he had perused or inspected, with their dates and the names of their owners, and to propose for solution such questions as had occurred to him concerning Afiatick Art, Science, and History, natural or civil, we should possess without labour, and almost by imperceptible degrees, a fuller catalogue of Oriental books, than has hitherto been exhibited, and our correspondents would be apprised of those points, to which we chiefly direct our investigations. Much may, I am confident, be expected from the communications of learned natives, whether lawyers, physicians, or private scholars, who would eagerly, on the first invitation, send us their Mekámát and Rijólahs on a variety of subjects; some for the sake of advancing general knowledge, but most of them from a desire, neither uncommon nor unreasonable, of attracting notice, and recommending themselves to favour.
With a view to avail ourselves of this dispofition, and to bring their latent science under our inspection, it might be advisable to print and circulate a short memorial, in Persian and Hindi, setting forth, in a style accommodated to their own habits and prejudices, the design of our institution; nor would it be impossible hereafter, to give a medal annually, with inscriptions in Persian on one side, and on the reverse in Sanscrit, as the prize of merit, to the writer of the best essay or dissertation. To instruct others is the prescribed duty of learned Brahmans, and, if they be men of substance, without reward; but they would all be flattered with an honorary mark of distinction; and the Mabomedans have not only the permission, but the positive command, of their law-giver, to search for learning. even in the remotest parts of the globe. It were superfluous to suggest, with how much correctness and facility, their compositions might be translated for our use, since their languages are now inore generally and perfectly understood than they have ever been by any nation of Europe.
I have detained you, I fear, too long by this address, though it has been my endeavour to reconcile comprehensiveness with brevity: the subjects, which I have lightly sketched, would be found, if minutely examined, to be inexhaustible; and, since no limits can be set to your researches but the boundaries of Asia itself, I may not improperly conclude with wishing for your society, what the Commentator on the Laws, prays for the constitution, of our country, that
DELIVERED 2 FEBRUARY, 1786.
IN the former discourses, which I had the hou nour of addressing to you, Gentlemen, on the institution and objects of our Society, I confined myself purposely to general topicks; giving in the first a distant prospect of the vast career, on which we were entering, and, in the second, exhibiting a more diffuse, but still superficial, sketch of the various discoveries in History, Science, and Art, which we might justly expect from our inquiries into the literature of Asia. I now propose to fill up that outline so comprehensively as to omit nothing essential, yet so concisely as to avoid being tedious; and, if the state of
health shall suffer me to continue long enough in this climate, it is my design, with your permission, to prepare for our annual meetings a series of short dissertations, unconnected in their titles and subjects, but all tending