« ПредишнаНапред »
if we shall find occasion to point out any defect, the removal of which
may render his future labours inore perfect and more useful.
The first volume of the work before us, contains Differtations on the geographical Divisions, and the Theology of Hindoftan.
Mr. Maurice introduces himself to his subscribers in a long, but
very interesting preface, which it would be extreme injustice to pass over- without fome notice. The history and literature of India have not, in a particular manner, engaged the attention and curiosity of the public, till within these lalt ten years. The grand repository of the sciences of this vast region, is the Sanscreet language, a language with which very few individuals are even yet acquainted, and in which three gentleinen only are familiarly conversant, namely, Sir W. Jones, Mr. Halhed, and Mr. Wilkins; the first of these, a man never to be mentioned, where literature is held in honour, without reverence, has published a translation of SaCONTALA, an Indian drama, written by Cali, das, who it is said flourished about a century before the christian.
Mr. Halhed is fainous for his translation of what our au. thor justly calls, " that astonishing proof of the early wisdom of the Indians, and their extensive ikill in jurisprudence, THE CODE of Gentoo LAWS.
From Mr. Wilkins has been received the Geeta, or dialogues of Creeshna and Arjoon, being part of a Sanscreet poem, denominated the MAHABBARAT, which is believed in India to be of the venerable antiquity of four thousand years.--The fame gentleman has since obliged the world with a translation of the HeeTOPADES, or amicable instructions.--These four publications have been employed by Mr. Maurice to rectify what was false, and elucidate what was obfcure, in the ancient historians, and geographers of Greece and Rome; and he claims to himself the merit of being the first author, who in Europe has undertaken the arduous talk of comparing Sanscreet and Greek literature.--In page 11 of his introduction, our author confie | Pro ders the incidents of the great war recorded in the Mahabbarat, and indeed all the apparently fabulous events of the remote periods of Indian history, as to be referred to the contests of the sons of Shem and Ham for the empire of the infant world. The idea is certainly original, and the argument ingenious; it. opens an entirely new view of a subject hitherto inadequately explored, and tends to place the unsubstantial structure of fable, on the folid base of truth.-In page 17. After making an apology, which to us feems unnecessary, for entering at great length, into the astronomical speculations of the Oriental world, Mr.. Maurice presents the following satisfactory justification of his motives :
r I have
BELUS that it
a Lucia Lipped t
2 a know
* I have entered farther into these astronomical disquisitions than my friends' may think was either necessary, or, in regard to the sale of my book, prudent; but this particular subject was intimately connected with others of a higher nature, and more momentous research. The daring affertions of certain sceptical French philofophers with respect to the age of the world, whose arguments I have attempted to refute, arguments principally founded on the high assumptions of the Brahmins and other eattern nations, in point of chronology and astronomy, could their extravagant claims be substantiated, have a direct tendency to overturn the Mofaic system, and with it, Christianity. I have, therefore, with what success the reader must hereafter determine, laboured to invalidate those claims, with all the persevering affiduity which an hearty belief in the truth of the former, and an unshaken attachment; not merely profeffional, to the latter system, could not fail of exciting and animating. While engaged on those enquiries, the fortunate arrival of the second volume of the Afiatic researches, with the various dissertations on the fubject, of Sir William Jones, and of Mr. Davis, who has unveiled the astronomical mysteries of the famous Surya SIDDHANTA, the most ancient Sanscreet treatise on that science, enabled me to pursue with satisfaction, with security, and, I trust, to démonftration, the plan which I had previously formed, and upon which alone the difficulty can be folved.”
In the course of this introduction, the curious reader will find some elucidations of proper names, intimately connected with the researches of the historian and the classic. We have been taught, from our childhood, to name the bold opponent of Alexander Porus, his real name it seems was PORAVA. Adam may be traced to the Sanfcreet root ADIM, the first; in the prophetic and regal title of Menu of India, may be recognized the patriarch Noah; BALI, the great Indian hero, is no other than Belus.-p. 23, contains foune acute remarks, intended to prove that the figures of the constellations of the Zodiac are not of genuine Egyptian origin.—This subject is pursued through many fucceeding pages with much ingenious observation.
P. 34. From the circular dance in which, according to the historian Lucian, in his treatise De Saltatione, the ancient Indians worshipped the orb of the Sun, Mr. Maurice is induced to believe, that in the most early periods, they had discovered that the earth in form was spherical, and that the planets revolved round the Sun.
Lucian cannot properly be called an historian; and the observation which follows betrays a little of the spirit of hypothesis, a determination to accommodåte every thing to a beloved lystem. The circular dance might doubtless intimate the motion of the planets round the Sun, but how it could by any means imply a knowledge of the spherical figure of the earth, is får beyond our comprehension,
The tract of Lucian, to which Mr. Maurice refers, is very curious, and the particular passage of which use is here made, is, we conceive, the following : speaking of the Indians, he says, προς την ανατολην σαντες, ορχησει τον Ήλιον ασπαζονται, σχηματιζοντας αυτες σιωπη, και μιμάμενοι την χορειαν το θες, that is, ftanding with the face towards the east, they worship the Sun in a dance, moving themselves at intervals in filence, and imitating the dance of the God.-oXnuati Sortes cannot easily be rendered in our language ; for the word oxinluz or oxuation, from which it comes, signifies a kind of dance in which the performers sometimes stood still. See the Pax of Aristophanes.—Lucian, the reader will observe, draws no other deduction, than that this religious dance reprea sents the feeming motion of the Sun in its orbit, for that the Sun moved round his axis, was probably then unknown.
Page 47. We entirely agree with Mr. Maurice in reprobating the inlinuation, that nothing either " novel or interesting can be expected from an author, who has never visited the region he describes."
Page 55. We revere the spirit which dictated the verses which are here inserted, a tribute to the memory of a beloved wife, and we can properly praise the verses themselves; but we think them misplaced in a work like the present.
With respect to the orthography of Indian words mentioned in
page 60, it has certainly been a matter attended with a great difficulty to the writer, and perplexity to the reader.--Recent discoveries, from a more careful investigation of this subject, have detected various mistakes in the otherwise valuable work of Mr. Richardson. But these difficulties will progressively become less, and we think that the plan which Mr. Maurice has adopted, will contribute its part to this desirable end.
Mr. Maurice's apology for his style, does not to us seem necessary. It is generally nervous and good; there appears however throughout, somewhat of a predilection for words of less usual occurrence.
Page 23. The author, finding in his progress, that raps and engravings were essential to the accomplishment of his purpose, apologizes for the necessity of increasing the price of his book. The liberality of the public is seldom backward in answering such claims, and the present seems a case in which it certainly ought not to be less prompt than usual in the encouragement of literary industry.—The engravings introduced in this work, are well
, explained from page go to page 113. This very learned and interesting introduction, concludes with a reprefentation of the predicament in which the author stands with regard to the public.
Hedisclaims all base and mercenary motives; at the same time he finds, that considerable property has been expended in this are
duous undertaking, in which also his health has been deeply, but we trust not irretrievably injured.--He hopes, and his hopes have at least our warmest wishes for their accomplishment, that his labours may so far attract the curiosity of the public, as may in some degree compensate his exertions.
The remaining part of the first volume contains the geographical discoveries of Indoftan. On this subject the clasical writers of Greece and Rome are first considered. Our author disputes the science of Geometry to have originated with the Egyptians, and thinks the arguments in favour of its being first known in India far more plausible ; great as our respect is for Mr. Maurice, we do not think his reasonings on this subject fatisfactory or conclufive. The overflowings of the Nile first taught, as is supposed, the science of geometry in Egypt; but many parts of India, says Mr. Maurice, are annually overflowed, not only by the Ganges, but by many other considerable rivers. But the cafe is by no means parallel.-In Egypt, where there is little or no rain, the inundations of the Nile are indispensably necessary to the cultivation of the lands, and extend nearly over the whole of those that are occupied for agriculture ; confequently when, in early times, the boundaries were such as became obliterated by the water, it was necessary to have recourse to geometry, after the recess of the river, in order to assign to every man his proper portion. This at least is the light in which the ancients represent the fact , but the Ganges and other rivers, though they overflow, do not so far extend over the cultivated land, in their inundations, as to have rendered this expedient at any time necessary.
We shall here take our leave of Mr. Maurice for the prefent month, again repeating our approbation of his learning and his industry, and our hope that both will obtain the remuneration they so well deserve.
[ To be continued. ]
Art. II. A Narrative of the Campaign in India, which termi
nated the War with Tippoo Sultan, in 1792. By Major Dirom, Deputy Adjutant General of his Majesty's Forces in India. 4to. Faden, &c. il. is, N event of such magnitude as the close of our late war
in India, by which the British power, according to all probable appearance, is established on the continent of Asia, beyond all fear of external injury, for a very conliderable period, naturally excites an eager curiosity in all the B 3
subjects of this empire; we wish to be minutely informed by what steps so great advantages were secured, what obstacles were surmounted, and by what means ; how far the glory of our country is increased by the manner, as well as her interest promoted by the nature of the conquest.
The detached accounts from time to time transmitted, during the progress of such transactions, cannot fully satisfy this rational curiofity: these, being only parts divided from each other by long interruptions, lose their natural connection, and the diftinăness of their reference to the whole; and, the neceffary explanations and illustrations not being always attainable, this disjointed history is feldom fully underltood. We are gratified therefore with the appearance of any connected narrative, which may fill up thefe deficiencies of information.
It is not often that a very recent event is so related as to give the narrative a place within the class of finished history; time, and much careful enquiry, are necessary to form a xmp.a os ass, like that of Thucydides, whose confeffion of the difficulty there is in obtaining accurate intelligence, even from eye-witnesses, ought always to be present to the mind of an historian. The first narratives which follow great transactions, may in general be considered only as single evidences in a complicated cause. To an officer of some rank, however, the events of a single campaign, quorum pars magna fuit, may be better known than civil or political occurrences can to any individual ; and among such narratives, that of Major Dirom well deserves to hold an honourable place. The distinctness of his arrangement, the clearness of his style, the unaffected simplicity of his narration, free from modern varnish, and false taste, contribute to render his work, which is necessarily interesting in point of subject, highly pleasing also in the mode of communication.
Major Dirom very satisfactorily explains the fources of his information : journals and authentic documents prepared while the events were recent, compared with the knowledge possessed by other officers, who were themselves also engaged in the great scenes of action ; and the best affistance in the world, that of Major Rennel, in drawing out the maps. We have reason to be well satisfied with the use made of all these means. The narrative has every appearance of cạndour and correctness, and the maps, and other illustrations, are as clear as can be wished, and executed in a good style. • The division of the work is natural and good. It consists of three parts, the first contains the tranfactions of the British army and the allies, during their recess from Seringapatam ; the second gives the return of the forces to Seringapatam, and the operations before that place, concluding with the cessation of