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not, I trust, remain long a secret : they are easily procured, and their importance cannot be doubted. The Philosopher, whose works are said to include a system of the universe founded on the principle of Attraction and the Central position of the fun, is named YAVAN ACHA'RYA, because he had travelled, we are told, into Ionia: if this be true, he might have been one of those, who conversed with PYTHAGORAS; this at least is undeniable, that a book on astronomy in SunScrit bears the title of Yavana Jática, which may signify the Ionic Sect; nor is it improbable, that the names of the planets and Zodiacal stars, which the Arabs borrowed from the Greeks, but which we find in the oldest Indian records, were originally devised by the same ingenious and enterprising race, from whom both Greece and India were peopled; the race, who, as DIONYSIUs describes them,
• first assayed the deep,
Of these cursory observations on the Hindus, which it would require volumes to expand and illustrate, this is the result: that they had an immemorial affinity with the old Persians, Etbiopians, and Egyptians, the Phenicians, Greeks, and Tuscans, the Scythians or Goths, and Celts, the Chinese, Japanese, and Peruvians ; whence, as no reason appears for believing, that they were a colony from any one of those nations, or any of those nations from them, we may fairly conclude that they all proceeded from some central country, to investigate which will be the object of my future Discourses; and I have a fanguine hope, that your collections during the present year will bring to light many useful difcoveries ; although the departure for Europe of a very ingenious member, who first opened the inestimable mine of Sanscrit literature, will often deprive us of accurate and solid information concerning the languages and antiquities of India.
DELIVERED 15 FEBRUARY, 1787.
I HAD the honour last year of opening to you my intention, to discourse at our annual meetings on the five principal nations, who have peopled the continent and islands of Apa; so as to trace, by an historical and philological analysis, the number of ancient ftems, from which those five branches have severally sprung, and the central region, from which they appear to have proceeded : you may, therefore, expect, that, having submitted to your consideration a few general remarks on the old inhabitants of India, I should now offer my sentiments on some other nation, who, from a similarity of language, religion, arts, and manners, may be supposed to have had an early connection with the Hindus ; but, since we find some Asiatick nations totally diffimilar to them in all or most of those particulars, and since the difference will strike you more forcibly by an immediate and close comparison, I design at present to give a short account of a wonderful people, who seem in every respect so strongly contrasted to the original natives of this country, that they must have been for ages a distinct and feparate race.
For the purpose of these discourses, I confidered India on its largest scale, describing it as lying between Persia and China, Tartary and Java; and, for the same purpose, I now apply the name of Arabia, as the Arabian Geographers often apply, it, to that extensive Peninsula, which the Red Sea divides from Africa, the great Assyrian river from Iràn, and of which the Erythrean Sea washes the base ; without excluding any part of its western side, which would be completely maritime, if no isthmus intervened between the Mediterranean, and the Sea of Kolzom : that country in short I call Arabia, in which the Arabick language and letters, or fuch as have a near affinity to them, have been immemorially current.
Arabia, thus divided from India by a vast ocean, or at least by a broad bay, could hardly have been connected in any degree with this country, until navigation and commerce had been considerably improved : yet, as the Hindus and the people of Yemen were both commercial nations in a very early age, they were probably the first instruments of conveying to the western world the gold, ivory, and perfumes of India, as well as the fragrant wood, called álluwwa in Arabick and aguru in Sanscrit, which grows in the greatest perfection in Anám or Cochinchina. It is possible too, that a part of the Arabian Ido. latry might have been derived from the same source with that of the Hindus; but such an intercourse may be considered as partial and accidental only; nor am I more convinced, than I was fifteen years ago, when I took the liberty to animadvert on a passage in the History Prince KANTEMIR, that the Turks have any just reason for holding the coast of Yemen to be a part of India, and calling its inhabitants Yellow Indians.
The Arabs have never been entirely subdued; nor has any impression been made on them, except on their borders; where, indeed, the Pbenicians, Persians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, and, in modern times, the Othman Tartars, have severally acquired settlements ; but, with these exceptions, the natives of Hejàz and Yemen have preserved for ages the sole dominion of their deserts and pastures, their mountains and fertile valleys ; thus, apart from the rest of mankind, this extraordinary people have retained their primitive manners and language, features and character, as long and as remarkably as the Hindus themselves. All the genuine Arabs of