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with Newton, that ancient mythology was nothing but historical truth in a poetical dress, nor, with Bacon, that it consisted folely of moral and metaphysical allegories, nor with BRYANT, that all the heathen divinities are only different attributes and representations of the Sun or of deceased progenitors, but conceive that the whole system of religious fables - rose, like the Nile, from several distinct sources, yet
I cannot but agree, that one great spring and fountain of all idolatry in the four quarters of the globe was the veneration paid by men to the vast body of fire, which “ looks from his fole dominion like the God of this world;" and another, the immoderate respect shown to the memory of powerful or virtuous ancestors, especially the founders of kingdoms, legislators, and warriors, of whom the Sun or the Moon were wildly supposed to be the parents.
III. The remains of architecture and sculpture in India, which I mention here as mere monuments of antiquity, not as specimens of ancient art, seem to prove an early connection between this country and Africa: the pyramids of Egypt, the colossal ftatues described by PAUSANIAS and others, the sphinx, and the Hermes Canis, which last bears a great resemblance to the Varábávatár, or the incarnation of VISHNU in the form of a Boar, indicate the style and mythology of the
fame indefatigable workmen, who formed the vast excavations of Cánárab, the various temples and images of BUDDHA, and the idols, which are continually dug up at Gayá, or in its vicinity. The letters on many of those monuments appear, as I have before intimated, partly of Indian, and partly of Abyssinian or Ethiopick, origin; and all these indubitable facts
induce no ill-grounded opinion, that Ethiopia and Hinduftàn were peopled or colonized by the fame extraordinary race; in confirmation of which, it may be added, that the mountaineers of Bengal and Babàr can hardly be distinguished in some of their features, particularly their lips and noses, from the modern Abyssinians, whom the Arabs call the children of Cu'sh: and the ancient Hindus, according to STRABO, differed in nothing from the Africans, but in the straitness and smoothness of their hair, while that of the others was crisp or woolly ; a difference proceeding chiefly, if not entirely, from the respective humidity or dryness of their atmospheres: hence the people who received the first light of the rising fun, according to the limited knowledge of the ancients, are said by Apuleius to be the Arü and Ethiopians, by which he clearly meant certain nations of India; where we frequently fee figures of BUDDHA with
curled bair apparently designed for a repréfentation of it in its natural state.
IV. It is unfortunate, that the Silpi Sástra, or collection of treatises on Arts and Manufactures, which must have contained a treafure of useful information on dying, painting, and metallurgy, has been so long neglected, that few, if any, traces of it are to be found ; but the labours of the Indian loom and needle have been universally celebrated ; and fine linen is not improbably fupposed to have been called Sindon, from the name of the river near which it was wrought in the highest perfection: the people of Colchis were also famed for this manufacture, and the Egyptians yet more, as we learn from several passages in fcripture, and particularly from a beautiful chapter in EZEKIAL containing the most authentick delineation of ancient commerce, of which Tyre had been the principal mart. Silk was fabricated immemorially by the Indians, though commonly ascribed to the people of Serica or Tancut, among whom probably the word Ser, which the Greeks applied to the silk-worm, signified gold; a sense, which it now bears in Tibet. That the Hindus were in early ages a commercial people, we have many reasons to believe; and in the first of their sacred lawtracts, which they sappose to have been revealed
by Menu many millions of years ago, we find a curious passage on the legal interest of money, and the limited rate of it in different cases, with an exception in regard to adventures at sea; an exception, which the sense of mankind approves, and which commerce absolutely requires, though it was not before the reign of CHARLES I. that our own jurisprudence fully admitted it in respect of maritime contracts.
We are told by the Grecian writers, that the Indians were the wiseft of nations; and in moral wisdom, they were certainly eminent: their Niti Sástra, or System of Ethicks, is yet preserved, and the Fables of VISHNUŠERMAN, whom we ridiculously call Pilpay, are the most beautiful, if not the most ancient, collection of apologues in the world : they were first translated from the Sanscrit, in the sixth century, bị the order of BuzeRCHUMIHR, or Bright as the Sun, the chief physician and afterwards Vézir of the great
ANU'SHIREVA'n, and are extant under various names in more than twenty languages; but their original title is Hitópadėsa, or Amicable Instruction ; and, as the very existence of Esop, whom the Arabs believe to have been an Abysfinian, appears rather doubtful, I am not disinclined to suppose, that the first moral fables, which appeared in, Europe, were of Indian or Ethiopian origin.
The Hindus are said to have boasted of three inventions, all of which, indeed, are admirable, the method of instructing by apologues, the decimal scale adopted now by all civilized nations, and the game of Chefs, on which they have some curious treatises ; but, if their numerous works on Grammar, Logick, Rhetorick, Musick, all which are extant and accessible, were explained in some language generally known, it would be found, that they had yet higher pretensions to the praise of a fertile and inventive genius. Their lighter Poems are lively and elegant; their Epick, magnificent and sublime in the highest degree; their Purána's comprise a series of mythological Histories in blank verse from the Creation to the supposed incarnation of BUDDHA; and their Védas, as far as we can judge from that compendium of them, which is called Upanisbat, abound with noble fpeculations in metaphyficks, and fine discourses on the being and attributes of God. Their most ancient medical book, entitled Chereca, is believed to be the work of Sivá; for each of the divinities in their Triad has at least one sacred composition al"cribed to him ; but, as to mere human works on History and Geography, though they are said to be extant in Cashmir, it has not been yet in my power to procure them. What their astronomical and mathematical writings contain, will