« ElőzőTovább »
MONGOLIAN HISTORY-THE CHINESE.
spread from the boundaries of Egypt over the moun- | preserved its original faculty and intelligence longer, tains of Atlas, as far as the Gaditanian Straits. Epho- or was so improved by contact and intermixture with rus, too (B. C. 405), seems to have had a very great its Caucasian neighbours, as to constitute, under the impression of the power of the Ethiopians, since he name of the Ethiopians, one of the great anti-historic names in the east the Indians, in the south the Ethio. dynasties of the world; and that this dynasty ebbed pians, in the west the Celts, in the north the Seythians, and flowed against the Caucasian populations of as the most mighty and numerous peoples of the known western Asia and eastern Europe, thus giving rise to earth. Already in Strabo's time, however, their ancient mixture of races along the African coasts of the north power had been gone for an indefinite period, and the and east, until at length, leaving these mixed races to act Negro states found themselves, after Meroe had ceased their part awhile, the pure Ethiopian himself retired to be a religious capital, almost in the same situation from historic view into Central Africa, where he lay as that in which they still continue. The second re-concealed, till again in modern times he was dragged mark on the Negro branch of the human race and its forth to become the slave of his Caucasian brother. history, can only be fully elucidated when the interpre. Thus Negro history, hitherto, has exhibited a retrogres. tation of the inscriptions on Egyptian monuments shall sion from a point once occupied, rather than a progress have been farther advanced. The latest travels into in civilisation. Even this fact, however, inust someAbyssinia show this much--that at one time the Egyp-how be subordinate to a great law of general progress; tian religion and civilisation extended over the prin- and it is gratifying to know that, on the coast of Africa, cipal seat of the northern Negroes. Single mummies a settlenient has recently been formed called Liberia, and monumental figures corroborate what Herodotus peopled by liberated negro slaves from North America; expressly says, that a great portion of the Egyptians and who, bringing with them the Anglo-American ciri of his time had black skins and woolly hair; hence lisation, give promise of founding a cultured and proswe infer that the Negro race had combined itself inti- perous community. mately with the Caucasian part of the population. Not these notices only, but the express testimonies also of the Hebrew annals, show Egypt to have con- As from the great central mass of mankind, the first tained an abundance of Negroes, and mention a con- accumulation of life on our planet, there was parted off quering king invading it at the head of a Negro host, into Africa a fragment called the Negro variety, so into and governing it for a considerable time. The nature eastern Asia there was detached, by those causes which of the accounts on which we must found does not we seek in vain to discover, a second huge fragment, to permit us to give an accurate statement; we remark, which has been given the name of the Mongolian however, that the Indians, the Egyptians, and the variety. Overspreading the great plains of Asia, froin Babylonians, are not the only peoples which aimed at the Himalehs to the Sea of Okhotsk, this detachbecoming world-conquerors before the historic age, but ment of the human species may be supposed to have that also to the Ethiopian stock warlike kings were crossed into Japan; to have reached the other islands not wanting in the early times. The Mongols alone of the Pacific, and either through these, or by the seem to have enjoyed a happy repose within their own access at Behring's Straits, to have poured themselves seats in the primitive historic times, and those ante through the great American continent; their peculiaricedent to them; they appear first very late as conquerors ties shading off in their long journey, till the Mongolian and destroyers in the history of the west. If, indeed, was converted into the American Indian. Blumenbach, the hero-king of the Ethiopians, Tearcho, were one and however, erects the American Indian into a type by the same with the Tirhakah of the Book of Kings himself, as already shown in No. 51. (2 Kings, xix. 9), then the wonder of those stories would llad historians been able to pursue the Negro race disappear which were handed down by tradition to the into their central African jungles and deserts, they Greeks; but even Bochart has combated this belief, and I would no doubt have found the general Ethiopic mass we cannot reconcile it with the circumstances which breaking up there under the operation of causes conare related of both. It remains for us only to observe, nected with climate, soil, food, &c. into vast sections or by way of summary, that in an age antecedent to the subdivisions, presenting marked differences from each historic, the Ethiopian peoples may have been asso- other; and precisely so was it with the Mongolians. ciated together in a more regular manner than in our In Central Asia, we find them as Thibetians, Tun. or Grecian and Roman times; and that their distant gusians, Mongols proper; on the eastern coasts, as expeditions may have been so formidable, both to the Mantchous and Chinese; in the adjacent islands, as JaEuropeans as far as the Ægean Sea in the east, and to panese, &c.; and nearer the North Pole, as Laplanders, the dwellers on the Gaditanian Straits (Gibraltar) on Esquimaux, &c.; all presenting peculiarities of their the west, that the dim knowledge of the fact was not own. Of these great Mongolian branches circumstances lost even in late times. In more recent ages we ob-have given a higher degree of development to the serve here and there an Ethiopian influence, and espe- Chinese and the Japanese than to the others, which cially in the Egyptian history; but as concerns the are chiefly nomadic hordes, some under Chinese rule, general progress of the hunian species, the Negro race others independent, roaming, over the great pasture never acquired any vital importance.**
lands of Asia, and employed in rearing cattle. The foregoing observations may be summed up in There is every reason to believe that the vast popu. this proposition :--That in the most remote antiquity, lation inhabiting that portion of eastern Asia called Africa was overspread by the Negro variety of the hu-China, can boast of a longer antiquity of civilisation man species; that in those parts of the continent to than almost any other nation of the world; a civilisawhich the knowledge of the ancient geographers did tion, however, differing essentially in its character from not extend-namely, all south of Egypt and the Great those which have appeared and disappeared among the Desert—the Negro race degenerated, or at least dispersed | Caucasians. This, in fact, is to be observed as the into tribes, kingdoms, &c. constituting a great savage grand difference between the history of the Mongolian system within its own torrid abode, similar to that and that of the Caucasian variety of the human species, which even now, in the adult age of the world, we are that whereas the former presents us with the best provainly attempting to penetrate; but that on the coasts duct of Mongolian humanity, in the form of one great of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, the race either permanent civilisation-the Chinese-extending from there is “ left not a rack behind." The sepulchres alone of her century to century, one, the same, and solitary, through
a period of 3000 or 4000 years; the latter exhibits departed kings have fulfilled their destination of surviving the
a succession of civilisations—the Chaldæan, the Perhabitations which their philosophy taught them to consider but as inns, and are now fast mouldering into dust. Scarcely a
sian, the Grecian, the Roman, the modern European trace of a palace or a temple is to be seen.'
(subdivided into French, English, German, Italian, * Schlosser's (F. C.) Universalhistorische Vobcrsicht der &c.), and the Anglo-American; these civilisations, from Geschichte der Alten Welt und ihrer Cultur.
the reinotest Oriental--that is, Chaldæan--to the most
recent occidental-that is, the Anglo-American-being / warlike king had incorporated all China into one, and a series of waves falling into each other, and driven subdued the princes of the various provinces. While onward by the same general force. A brief sketch of he was at war with his subjects, many of the roving Chinese history, with a glance at Japan, will therefore hordes to the north of China pressed into the land, and discharge all that we owe to the Mongolian race. with them appeared missionaries of the religion above
Authentic Chinese history does not extend farther mentioned. When peace was restored, the kings of back than about 800 or 1000 years B.c.; but, as has the fore-named dynasty, as also later those of Han and been the case more or less with all nations, the Chinese the two following dynasties, extended the kingdom imagination had provided itself with a mythological prodigiously, and the western provinces became known history extending many ages back into the unknown to the Greeks and Romans as the land of the Zerer. past. Unlike the mythology of the Greeks, but like As on the one side Tartary was at that time Chinese, that of the Indians, the Chinese legends deal in large so on the other side the Chinese were connected with chronological intervals. First of all, in the begin- India; whence came the Indian religion. It procured ning of time, was the great Puan-Koo, the founder of many adherents, but yielded at length to the primitive the Chinese nation, and whose dress was green leaves. habits of the nation. In consequence of the introducAfter himn came Ty-en-lIoang, Ti-Hoang, Gin-Hoang, tion of the religion of Foë, the immense country fell and several other euphonious potentates, each of whom asunder into two kingdoins. The south and the north did something great towards the building up of the had each its sovereign; and the wars of the northern Chinese nation, and each of whom reigned, as was the kingdom occasioned the wanderings of the Huns, by custom in these grand old times, thousands of years. whose agency the Roman Empire was destroyed. These At length, at a time corresponding to that assigned in kingdoms of the north and south were often afterwards Scripture to the life of Noah, came the divine - born united and again dissevered ; great savage hordes Fohi, a inan of transcendent faculties, who reigned 115 roamed around them as at present; but all that had years, teaching music and the system of symbols, insti- settled, and that dwelt within the Great Wall, subtuting marriage, building walls round cities, creating mitted to the ancient Chinese civilisation. Ghenghis mandarins, and, in short, establishing the Chinese na- Khan, indeed, whose power was founded on the Turkish tion on a basis that could never be shaken. After him and Mongol races, annihilated both kingdoms, and the came Shin-ning, Whang-ti, &c. until in due time came barbaric element seemed to triumph ; but this was the good emperors Yao and Shun, in the reign of the changed as soon as his kingdom was divided. Even latter of whom happened a great flood. By incans of Kublai, and yet more his immediate followers, much as canals and drains the assiduous Yu saved the country, the Chinese calumniate the Mongol dynasty of Yeven, and became the successor of Shun. Yu was the first maintained everything in its ancient condition, with , emperor of the Hia dynasty, which began about 2100 the single exception that they did homage to Lamaism,
B.C. After this dynasty came that of Shang, the last the altered form of Buddhism. This religion yet preof whose emperors, a great tyrant, was deposed (B.c. vails, accommodated skilfully, however, to the Chinese 1122) by Woo-wong, the founder of the Tchow dynasty. mode of existence--a mode which all subsequent con
In this Tehow dynasty, which lasted upwards of querors have respected, as the example of the present 800 years, authentic Chinese history commences. It dynasty proves. The dynasty here alluded to is that was during it, and most probably about the year of Tatsin, of Mantchou, a mixed Mongol and Tartar B.C. 484, that the great Con-fu-tse, or Confucius, the stock, which superseded the native Chinese dynasty of founder of the Chinese religion, philosophy, and litera- Ming in the year 1644. The present emperor of China ture, flourished. In the year B.C. 248, the Tchow is the sixth of the Tatsin dynasty. dynasty was superseded by that of Tsin, the first of Froin the series of dry facts just given, we arrive at whose kings built the Great Wall of China, to de- the following definition of China and its civilisation:fend the country against the Tartar nomads. The As the Roman Empire was a great temporary aggregaTsin dynasty was a short one: it was succeeded in tion of matured Caucasian humanity, surrounded by B.c. 206 by the Han dynasty, which lasted till A. D. 238. and shading off into Caucasian barbarisin, so China, a Then followed a rapid series of dynastic revolutions, country more extensive than all Europe, and inhabited by which the nation was frequently broken into parts; by a population of more than 300,000,000, is an aggreand during which the population was considerably gation of matured Mongolian humanity surrounded by changed in character by the irruptions of the nomad Mongolian barbarism. The difference is this, that while hordes of Asia who intermingled with it. Early in the the Roman Empire was only one of several successive seventh century, a dynasty called that of Tang acceded aggregations of the Caucasian race, each on an entirely to power, which ended in 897. After half a century different basis, the Chinese empire has been one permaof anarchy, order was restored under the Song dynasty, nent exhibition of the only form of civilisation possible at the commencement of which, or about the year 950, among the Mongolians, The Jew, the Greek, the the art of printing was discovered, five centuries before Roman, the Frenchman, the German, the Englishman it was known in Europe.The Song dynasty,' says -- these are all types of the matured Caucasian characSchlosser, .maintained an intimate connection with ter; but a fully-developed Mongolian has but one type Japan, as contrary to all Chinese maxims; the empe- —the Chinese. Chinese history does not exhibit a prorors of this dynasty imposed no limits to knowledge, gress of the Mongolian man through a series of stages: the arts, life, luxury, and commerce with other nations. it exhibits only a uniform duration of one great civiTheir unhappy fate, therefore (on being extinguished lised Mongolian empire, sometimes expanding so as to with circumstances of special horror by the Mongol extend itself into the surrounding Mongolian barconqueror Kublai Khan, A. D. 1281), is held forth as a barism, sometimes contracted by the pressure of that warning against departing a hairsbreadth from the old barbarism, sometimes disturbed by infusions of the customs of the empire. From the time of the destruc- barbaric element, and sometimes shattered within itself tion of the Song dynasty by the Mongol monarchy, the by the operation of individual Chinese ambition, but intercourse between China and Japan was broken, always retaining its essential character. True, in such until again the Ming, a native Chinese dynasty (A.D. a vast empire, difference of climate, &c. must give rise 1366) restored it. The Mongol rulers made an expedi- to specific differences, so that a Chinese of the northtion against Japan, but were unsuccessful. The unfor- east is not the same as a Chinese of the south-west; tunate gift which the Japanese received from China true, also, the Japanese civilisation seems to exist as an was the doctrine of Foë. This doctrine, however, was alternative, between which and the Chinese Providence not the first foreign doctrine or foreign worship that might share the Mongolian part of our species were it came into China. A religion, whose nature we cannot to remain unmixed; still the general remark remains fix--probably Buddhism, ere it had assumed the form undeniable, that from the extremest antiquity to the of Lamaism-was preached in it at an earlier date. present day, Mongolian humanity has been able to cast About the time of the Tsin dynasty (B.C. 218–206), a litself but into one essential civilised type. It is an
object of peculiar interest, therefore, to us who belong | lised to the highest pitch of which Mongolian humanity to the multiform and progressive Caucasian race, to is susceptible; of mild disposition ; industrious to an obtain a distinct idea of the nature of that permanent extraordinary degree; well-skilled in all the mechaform of civilisation out of which our Mongolian brothers nical arts, and possessing a mechanical ingenuity pecuhave never issued, and apparently never wish to issue. liar to themselves; boasting of a language quite singular Each of our readers being a civilised Caucasian, may in its character, and of a vast literature; respectful of be supposed to ask, “What sort of a human being is a usage to such a degree as to do everything by pattern; civilised Mongolian?? A study of the Chinese civilisa- attentive to the duties and civilities of life, but totally tion would answer this question. Not so easy would it devoid of fervour, originality, or spirituality; and living be for a Chinese to return the compliment, confused as under a form of government which has been very haphe would be by the multiplicity of the types which the pily designated a pedantocracy—that is, a hierarchy Caucasian man has assumed—from the ancient Arab of erudite persons selected from the population, and to the modern Anglo-American.
appointed by the emperor, according to the proof they Hitherto little progress has been made in the investi- give of their capacity, to the various places of public gation of the Chinese civilisation. Several conclusions trust. How far these characteristics, or any of ther, of a general character have, however, been established. are inseparable from a Mongolian civilisation, would • We recognise,' says Schlosser, in the institutions of appear more clearly if we knew more of the Japanese. the Chinese, so much praised by the Jesuits, the charac- At present, however, there seems little prospect of any ter of the institutions of all early states; with this dif- reorganisation of the Chinese mind, except by means ference, that the Chinese mode of life is not a product of a Caucasian stimulus applied to it. And what of hierarchical or theocratic maxims, but a work of the Caucasian stimulus will be sufficient to break up that cold understanding. In China, all that subserves the vast Mongolian mass, and lay it open to the general wants of the senses was arranged and developed in the world - influences ? Will the stimulus come from earliest ages; all that concerns the soul or the imagi- Europe ; or from America, after its western shores nation is yet raw and ill-adjusted; and we behold in are peopled, and the Anglo-Americans begin to think the high opinion which the Chinese entertain of them- of crossing the Pacific? selves and their affairs, a terrible example of what must be the consequence when all behaviour proceeds according to prescribed etiquette, when all knowledge While the Negro race seems to have retrograded and learning is a matter of rote directed to external from its original position on the earth, while the Monapplications, and the men of learning are so intimately golian has atforded the spectacle of a single permanent connected with the government, and have their interest and pedantic civilisation retaining millions within its so much one with it, that a number of privileged doc- grasp for ages in the extreme east of Asia, the Caucators can regulate literature as a state magistrate does sian, as if the seeds of the world's progress had been weights and measures.' Of the Chinese government implanted in it, has worked out for itself a splendid the same authority remarks- The patriarchal system career on an ever-shifting theatre. First attaining its still lies at the foundation of it. Round the “Son of maturity in Asia, the Caucasian civilisation has shot Hleaven,” as they name the highest ruler, the wise of itself westward, if we may so speak, in several successive the land assemble as round their counsellor and organ. throes ; long confined to Asia ; then entering northern So in the provinces (of which there are eighteen or nine. Africa, where, commingling with the Ethiopian, it oriteen, each as large as a considerable kingdom), the ginated a new culture; again, about the year B.c. 1000, men of greatest sagacity gather round the presidents; adding Europe to the stage of history; and lastly, each takes the fashion from his superior, and the lowest 2500 years later, crossing the Atlantic, and meeting in give it to the people. Thus one man exercises the America with a diffused and degenerate Mongolism. To sovereignty; a number of learned men gave the law, understand this beautiful career thoroughly, it is necesand invented in very early times a symbolical system sary to observe the manner in which the Caucasians disof syllabic writing, suitable for their monosyllabic seminated themselves from their central home-to count, speech, in lieu of their primitive system of hiero- as it were, and note separately, the various flights by glyphics. All business is transacted in writing, with which they emigrated from the central hive. So far minuteness and pedantry. Their written language is as appears, then, from investigations into language, &c. very difficult; and as it is possible in Chinese writing the Caucasian stock sent forth at different times in the for one to know all the characters of a certain period remote past five great branches from its original seat, of time, or of a certain department, and yet be totally somewhere to the south of that long chain of mountains unacquainted with those of another period or another which commences at the Black Sea, and, bordering the department, there is no end to their mechanical acqui- southern coast of the Caspian, terininates in the Hima. sition. It has already been mentioned that Chinese lehs. In what precise way, or at what precise time, thought has at various times received certain foreign these branches separated themselves from the parent tinctures, chiefly from India; cssentially, however, the stock and from each other, must remain a mystery; a Chinese mind has remained as it was fixed by Confu- sufficiently clear general notion of the fact is all that cius. • In China,' says Schlosser, a so-named philo- we can pretend to. Ist, The Armenian branch, reso has accomplished that which in other countries maining apparently nearest the original seat, filled the has been accomplished by priests and religions. In countries between the Caspian and Black Seas, extendthe genuine Chinese books of religion, in all their ing also round the Caspian into the territories afterlearning and wisdom, God is not thought of; religion, wards known as those of the Parthians. 2d, The Indoaccording to the Chinese and their oracle and law- Persian branch, which extended itself in a southern giver Con-fu-tse, has nothing to do with the imagina- and eastern direction from the Caspian Sea, through tion, but consists alone in the performance of outward Persia and Cabool, into Hindoostan, also penetrating moral duties, and in zeal to further the ends of state. Bokhara. From this great branch philologists and Whatever lies beyond the plain rule of life is either ethnographers derive those two races, the distinction a sort of obscure natural philosophy, or a mere culture between which, although subordinate to the grand for the people, and for any who may feel the want of fivefold division of the Caucasian stock, is of immense such a culture. The various forms of worship which consequence in modern history- the Celtic and the have made their way into China are obliged to restrict Germanic. Pouring through Asia Minor, it is supposed themselves, to bow to the law, and to make their prac- that the Indo-Persian faniily entered Europe through tices conform: they can arrogate no literature of their Thrace, and ultimately, through the operation of those own; and, good or bad, must learn to agree with the innumerable causes which react upon the human conprevailing atheistic Chinese manner of thought.' stitution from the circumstances in which it is placed,
Such are the Chinese, and such have they been for assumed the character of Celts and Germans—the Celts 2000 or 3000 years—a vast people undoubtedly civi- I being the earlier product, and eventually occupying the
testern portion of Europe - namely, northern Italy, Caucasians seems to have been the Indians. At what France, Spain, and Great Britain -still undergoing time the vast peninsula of Hindoostan could first boast subdivision, however, during their dispersion into Ibe- of a civilised population, it is impossible to say; all rians, Gaels, Cymri, &c.; the Germans being a later testimony, however, agrees in assigning to Indian civioff-shoot, and settling rather in the centre and north lisation à most remote antiquity. Another fact seems of Europe in two great moieties—the Scandinavians and also to be tolerably well authenticated regarding the Germans Proper. This seems the most plausible ancient India; namely, that the northern portions of it, pedigree of the Celtic and Germanic races, although and especially the north-western portions, which would some object to it. 3d, The Semitic or Aramaic branch, be nearest the original Caucasian seat, were the first which, diffusing itself southward and westward from civilised ; and that the civilising influence spread the original Caucasian seat, filled Syria, Mesopotamia, thence southwards to Cape Comorin. Arabia, &c. and founded the early kingdoms of Assyria, Notwithstanding this general conviction, that India Babylonia, Phoenicia, Palestine, &c. It was this branch was one of the first portions of the earth's surface that of the Caucasian variety which, entering Africa by the contained a civilised population, few facts in the Isthmus of Suez and the Straits of Babelmandeb, con ancient history of India are certainly known. We are stituted itself an element at least in the ancient popu- told, indeed (to omit the myths of the Indian Bacchus lation of Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia; and there are and Hercules), of two great kingdoms—those of Ayodha ethnographers who believe that the early civilisation (Oude) and Prathisthana (Vitera)—as having existed which lined the northern coasts of Africa arose from in northern India upwards of a thousand years before some extremely early blending of the Ethiopic with Christ; of conquests in southern India, effected by the the Sernitic, the latter acting as a dominant caste. monarchs of these kingdoms; and of wars carried on Diffusing itself westward along the African coast as between these monarchs and their western neighbours far as Mauritania, the Semitic race seerns eventually, the Persians, after the latter had begun to be powerful. though at a comparatively late period, to have met the All these accounts, however, merely resolve themselves Celtic, which had crossed into Africa from Spain; and into the general information, that India, many centuries thus, by the infusion of Araineans and Celts, that white before Christ, was an important member in the family or tawny population which we find in northern Africa of Asiatic nations ; supplying articles to their comin ancient times, distinct from the Ethiopians of the merce, and involved in their agitations. Accordingly, interior, seems to have been formed. 4th, The Pelasgic if we wish to form an idea of the condition of India branch, that noble family which, carrying the Greeks prior to that great epoch in its history—its invasion by and Romans in its bosom, poured itself from western Alexander the Great, B.c. 326—we can only do so by Asia into the south-east of Europe, mingling doubtless reasoning back from what we know of its present conwith Celts and Germans. 5th, The Scythian, or Sla- dition, allowing for the modifying effects of the two vonic branch, which diffused itself over Russia, Siberia, thousand years which have intervened; and especially and the central plains of Asia, shading off in these last for the effects produced by the Mohammedan invasion, into the Mongolian.
A.D. 1000. This, however, is the less difficult in the Such is a convenient division of the Caucasian stock; case of such a country as India, where the permanence a more profound investigation, however, might reduce of native institutions is so remarkable ; and though the fire races to these two-the Semitic and the Indo- we cannot hope to acquire a distinct notion of the terGermanic; all civilised languages being capable, it is ritorial divisions, &c. of India in very ancient times, yet, said, of being classified under these three families, by a study of the Hindoos as they are at present, we the Chinese, which has monosyllabic roots; the Indo- may furnish ourselves with a tolerably accurate idea of Germanic (Sanscrit, Hindoostanee, Greek, Latin, Ger- the nature of that ancient civilisation which overspread man, and all modern European languages), which has Hindoostan many centuries before the birth of Christdissyllabic roots; and the Semitic (Hebrew, Arabic, and this all the more probably that the notices which &e.), whose roots are trisyllabic. Retaining, however, remain of the state of India at the time of the invasion the fivefold distribution which we have adopted, we of Alexander, correspond in many points with what is shall find that the history of the world, from the to be seen in India at the present day. earliest to the remotest times, has been nothing else The population of Hindoostan, the area of which is than the common Caucasian vitality presenting itself estimated at about a million square miles, amounts in a succession of phases or civilisations, each differing to about 120,000,000; of whom about 100,000,000 are from the last in the proportions in which it contains Hindoos or aborigines, the remainder being foreigners, the various separate elements.
either Asiatic or European. The most remarkable It is advisable to sketch first the most eastern Cau- feature in Hindoo society is its division into castes. casian civilisation—that is, that of India; and then to The Hindoos are divided into four great castes-the proceed to a consideration of the state of that medley Brahmins, whose proper business is religion and philoof nations, some of them Semitic, some of them Indo-sophy; the Kshatriyas, who attend to war and governPersian, and some of thena Armenian, out of which the ment; the Vaisyas, whose duties are connected with great Persian empire arose, destined to continue the commerce and agriculture; and the Sudras, or artisans historic pedigree of the world into Europe, by trans- and labourers. Of these four castes the Brahmins are mitting its vitality to the Pelasgians.
the highest; but a broad line of distinction is drawn
between the Sudras and the other three castes. The Ancient India.
Brahmins may intermarry with the three inferior castes One of the great branches, we have said, of the Cau- --the Kshatriyas with the Vaisyas and the Sudras; and casian family of mankind was the Indo-Persian, which, the Vaisyas with the Sudras; but no Sudra can choose spreading out in the primeval times from the original a wife from either of the three superior castes. seat of the Caucasian part of the human species, ex. general rule, every person is required to follow the tended itself from the Caspian to the Bay of Bengal, profession of the caste to which he belongs: thus the where, coming into contact with the southern Mongo- Brahmin is to lead a life of contemplation and study, lians, it gave rise, according to the most probable ac- subsisting on the contributions of the rich; the Kshacounts, to those new mixed Caucasian-Mongolian races, triya is to occupy himself in civil matters, or to pursue the Malays of the Eastern Peninsula; and, by a still the profession of a soldier; and the Vaisya is to be a farther degeneracy, to the Papuas, or natives of the merchant or a farmer. In fact, however, the barriers South Sea Islands. While thus shading off into the of caste have in innumerable instances been broken Mongolism of the Pacific, the Indo-Persian mass of our down. The ramifications, too, of the caste system are species was at the same time attaining maturity within infinite. Besides the four pure, there are numerous itself; and as the first ripened fragment of the Mongo- mixed castes, all with their prescribed ranks and occulians had been the Chinese nation, so one of the first pations. A class far below even the pure Sudras is the ripened fragraents of the Indo-Persian branch of the 1 Pariahs or outcasts; consisting of the refuse of all the
other castes, and which, in process of time, has grown are Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and so large as to include, it is said, one-fifth of the popu- Seeb or Siva the destroyer. These three of course were lation of Hindoostan. The Pariahs perform the meanest originally intended to represent the three great attri. kinds of manual labour. This system of castes, of butes of the Om or Invisible Supreme Being-namely, which the Brahmins themselves, whom some suppose his creating, his preserving, and his destroying attrito have been originally a conquering race, are the butes. Indeed the name Om itself is a compound word, architects, if not the founders, is bound up with the expressing the three ideas of creation, preservation, and religion of the Hindoos. Indeed of the Hindoos, more destruction, all combined. The three together are called truly than of any other people, it may be said that a Trimurti, and there are certain occasions when the knowledge of their religious system is a knowledge three are worshipped conjointly. There are also sculpof the people themselves.
tured representations of the Trimurti, in which the The Vedas, or ancient sacred books of the Hindoos, busts of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are cut out of the distinctly set forth the doctrine of the Infinite and same mass of stone. One of these images of the TriEternal Supreme Being. According to the Vedas, there murti is found in the celebrated cavern temple of is. one unknown, true Being, all present, all powerful, Elephanta, in the neighbourhood of Bombay, perhaps the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe.' | the most wonderful remnant of ancient Indian archiThis Supreme Being 'is not comprehensible by vision, tecture. Vishnu and Siva are more worshipped sepaor by any other of the organs of sense; nor can he be rately than Brahma-each having his body of devotees conceived by means of devotion or virtuous practices.' specially attached to him in particular. He is not space, nor air, nor light, nor atoms, nor soul, Hindooism, like other Pantheistic systems, teaches nor nature : he is above all these, and the cause of the doctrine of the transmigration of souls: all creithem all. He has no feet, but extends everywhere; tion, animate and inanimate, being, according to the has no hands, but holds everything; has no eyes, yet Hindoo system, nothing else but the deity Brahm bimsees all that is; has no ears, yet hears everything that self parcelled out, as it were, into innumerable porpasses. His existence had no cause. He is the smallest tions and forms (when these are reunited, the world of the small and the greatest of the great; and yet will be at an end), just as a quantity of quicksilver is, in fact, neither small nor great. Such is the doc- may be broken up into innumerable little balls or trine of the Vedas in its purest and most abstract form; globules, which all have a tendency to go together but the prevailing theology which runs through them again. At long intervals of time, each extending over is what is called Pantheism, or that system which some thousand millions of years, Brahm does bring the speaks of God as the soul of the universe, or as the world to an end, by reabsorbing it into his spirit. universe itself. Accordingly, the whole tone and lan- When, therefore, a man dies, his soul, according to the guage of the highest Hindoo philosophy is Pantheistic. Hindoos, must either be absorbed immediately into the As a rope, lying on the ground, and mistaken at first soul of Brahm, or it must pass through a series of view for a snake, is the cause of the idea or conception transmigrations, waiting for the final absorption, which of the snake which exists in the mind of the person happens at the end of every universe, or at least until looking at it, so, say the Vedas, is the Deity the cause such time as it shall be prepared for being reunited of what we call the universe. 'In him the whole world with the Infinite Spirit. The former of the two is, is absorbed; from him it issues; he is entwined and according to the Hindoos, the highest possible reward: interwoven with all creation.' * All that exists is God: to be absorbed into Brahm immediately upon death, whatever we smell, or taste, or see, or hear, or feel, is and without having to undergo any farther purification, the Supreme Being.'
is the lot only of the greatest devotees. To attain this This one incomprehensible Being, whom the Ilindoos end, or at least to avoid degradation after death, the designate by the mystical names (m, Tut, and Jut, and Hindoos, and especially the Brahmins, who are natu. sometimes also by the word Brahm, is declared by the rally the most intent upon their spiritual interests, Vedas to be the only proper object of worship. Only a practise a ritual of the most intricate and ascetic devery few persons of extraordinary gifts and virtues, scription, carrying religious ceremonies and antipathies however, are able, it is said, to adore the Supreme with them into all the duties of life. So overburdened Being-the great Om-directly. The great majority is the daily life of the Hindoos with superstitious obserof mankind are neither so wise nor so holy as to be | vances with regard to food, sleep, &c. that, but for the able to approach the Divine Being himself, and wor- speculative doctrines which the more elevated minds ship him. It being alleged that persons thus unfor- among the Brahmins may see recognised in their reli. tunately disqualified for adoring the invisible Deity gion, the whole system of Hindooism might seem a should employ their minds upon some visible thing, wretched and grotesque polytheism. rather than suffer them to remain idle, the Vedas A hundred millions of people professing this system, direct them to worship a number of inferior deities, divided into castes as now, and carrying the Brahmirepresenting particular acts or qualities of the Supreme nical ritual into all the occupations of lazy life under Being; as, for instance, Crishnu or Vishnu, the god of the hot sun, and amid the exuberant vegetation of preservation; Muhadev, the god of destruction; or the Hindoostan--such was the people into which Alexander sun, or the air, or the sea, or the human understand the Great carried his conquering arms; such, doubt, ing; or, in fact, any object or thing which they may less, they had been for ages before that period; and choose to represent as God. Seeing, say the Hindoos, such did they remain, shut out from the view of the that God pervades and animates the whole universe, rest of the civilised world, and only communicating everything, living or dead, may be considered a portion with it by means of spices, ivory, &c. which found their of God, and as such, it may be selected as an object of way through Arabia or the Red Sea to the Mediterworship, provided always it be worshipped only as con- ranean, till Vasco de Gama rounded the Cape of Good stituting a portion of the Divine Substance. In this Hope, and brought Europe and India into closer conway, whatever the eye looks on, or the mind can con- nection. Meanwhile a Mohammedan invasion had ceive, whether it be the sun in the heavens or the taken place (A.D. 1000); Mohammedans from Persia great river Ganges, or the crocodile on its banks, or the bad mingled themselves with the Ilindoos; and it was cow, or the fire kindled to cook food, or the Vedas, or a with this inixed population that British enterprise Brahmin, or a tree, or a serpent-all may be legiti- eventually came into collision. mately worshipped as a fragment, so to speak, of the Ere quitting the Indians, it is well to glance back Divine Spirit. Thus there may be many millions of at the Chinese, so as see wherein these two primeval gods to which Hindoos think themselves entitled to and contemporaneous consolidations of our species-pay divine honours. The number of Hindoo gods is the Mongolian consolidation of eastern Asia, and the calculated at 330,000,000, or about three times the Caucasian consolidation of the central peninsula of number of their worshippers.
southern Asia-differ. “Whoever would perceive the Of these, the three principal deities of the Hindoos full physical and moral difference,' says Klaproth,