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divide them will be worn thinner and thinner by incessant and unregarded attrition, till at length they fall off of themselves.
But it is by schools, in which children are promis. cuously educated, whatever be their rank and parentage, that the prejudices of bigotry and the inveteracy of proscription will be most easily and effectually abolished. A great point has been gained within the last thirty years, when seminaries in which European literature (however humble in form) is taught were first opened, and are now, in many instances, well frequented by boys of all castes, from the sons of the Brahmin to those of the Soudhra: but a still greater step towards native emancipation was taken by a countrywoman of our own, about twelve years ago, who dared to offer instruction to Hindoo females. Their mothers, through a hundred genera tions, had been held in the bonds of ignorance, and if their posterity had been left for a hundred generations more under the same thraldom and outlawry, the other sex must have remained, by a judicial fatality, as they are, and as they have been,-unimprovable beings, from the hereditary disqualification of caste, which prevents a man from ever being any thing but what his father was, and requires him to entail the monotonous curse upon all his posterity. But now the worst of castes the caste of sex-is broken in India, by the opening of schools for girls in various stations. The work has been begun under good auspices, and it will go on. The great difficulty was to take the first step: this, a few years ago, was deemed an impossibility; the only impossibility now is, to stop the progress of motion once communicated, and never to cease while the earth rolls in its orbit.
But we must return westward.
Literature of the Chaldeans, Babylonians, &c.
Nations have their infancy, as well as the men and women that compose them. To a child every thing is new and wonderful, and if one of these little curious observers could communicate its minute history, for the first three years, in its own exquisite anomaly of words and ideas, there would be the prettiest fairy-tale that the world ever saw; it would, indeed, defy criticism, but it would delight beyond example everybody that had once been a baby, dear to a mother, and who remembered, however imperfectly, those joys and sorrows of the nursery that compose the morning dreams of life, before one awakes to its dull, and cold, and sad realities. In like manner, the first records of every people abound with marvels and prodigies, with crude and terrible traditions, wild and beautiful reveries, fabulous representations of facts, or pure unmingled fiction, with which no truth can amalgamate. Heroes and demigods, giants and genii, evil and good, are the everyday actors of scenes in which supernatural achievements and miraculous changes are the ordinary incidents.
These observations are peculiarly applicable to the early histories of the celebrated nations of antiquity. There scarcely exists an authenticated fragment of all the learning and philosophy of the Chaldeans, Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, and Phenicians, to give posterity, in the present age, matter-of-fact proof that there were such giants of literature in the earth in those days as we have been taught to believe from the testimony of the more enlightened Greeks, who, after all, appear to have known less even than they have told concerning these patriarchal people, and to have recorded vague traditions rather han preserved genuine relics of historical records, which had perished in the bulk before their time
It is almost unaccountable, if there were such treasures of knowledge, in Egypt especially, that the philosophers and statesmen of Greece who travelled thither for improvement should have acknowledged so little. This circumstance naturally induces suspicion that what they learned there was either of very small value, or that they were very disingenuous in not registering their obligations. Be this as it may, though there is abundant evidence that in manual arts, as well as in arms, these people of the east were great in their generation, their literature must have been exceedingly defective; otherwise their monuments of thought, no more than their monuments of masonry, could have so perished as scarcely to have left a wreck behind:
"They had no poet, and they died."
There is not in existence a line of verse by Chaldeafi, Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, or Phenician bard. They could embalm bodies, but hieroglyphics themselves have failed to embalm ideas. Yet there was mind, and mind of high order; limited, indeed, in the range of objects on which it was exercised, but expanding itself into immensity upon the few towards which its energies were converged.
It is manifest, from the uniform character of mag nificence stamped upon all the ruins of temples, palaces, and cities, as well as from the more perfect specimens of pyramids, obelisks, and sculptures, yet extant in the land of Nile, that a number comparatively small of master-spirits supplied the ideas which myriads of labourers were perpetually employed to imbody, and that the learning of the Egyptians was nearly, if not wholly, confined to the priesthood and the superior classes. Moses, indeed, was instructed in it, not because he was the son of a slave, but because he was the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter. We have Scripture authority, too,
for the fact, that long before the Israelites became bondsmen to the Egyptians, the Egyptians had sold themselves and their land to their king for bread during a seven years' famine. However intellectual then the rulers and hierarchy may have been, who planned those amazing monuments of ambition, the hands which wrought such works must have been the hands of slaves,-slaves held in ignorance as well as servitude. Men free and enlightened never could have been made what these evidently werelive tools to hew rocks into squares and curves, and pile the masses one upon another by unimaginable dint of strength, and the consentaneous efforts of multitudes, whose bones and sinews-whose limbs and lives, were always in requisition to do or to suffer what their hierophants or their sovereigns projected.
Speculation on the Original Use of Hieroglyphics.
The marvellous relics of Memphian grandeur, of which new discoveries are made by every successive traveller into the desert, or up the river, are melancholy proofs that the vaunted learning of the Egyptians, when it existed, was as much locked up from the comprehension of the vulgar, as it is at this day from the curiosity of the learned in undecipherable hieroglyphics. Had instruction been as general there as it is here, the key to those hieroglyphics could hardly have been lost to posterity. But we are told hat a key to the hieroglyphics has been found; and in reference to alphabetical hieroglyphics this is true; but that this was the original character of figure-writing it is difficult to believe; for had it been so, it would probably have been early abandoned, and abandoned altogether, when the simpler forms of lines and curves were adopted to express letters. Had hieroglyphics in the first instance been alphabetical, and employed for purposes of literature, the
slowness of the process, and the extent to which documents so written would spread, must have confined their use to tabular and sepulchral inscriptions; for a single copy of the history of Egypt, for example (had such a one been compiled), equal to Hume's History of England, would have required a surface for transcription scarcely less than the four sides of the great pyramid of Ghizza.
Without, however, entering into any inquiry concerning the value and extent of the recent discoveries of the late Dr. Young, to whom, I believe, the honour belongs, and through him to our country belongs, or M. Champollion, who has most happily followed the Iclew of which the doctor found the first loose end for unwinding; without entering into any inquiry into these exceedingly curious but abstruse and complicated questions, the few following remarks are intended to refer solely to the antecedent use of hieroglyphics in Egypt, in the same manner as they have been or are used elsewhere, both in ancient and in modern times; namely, as symbols, not of letters, nor of words, but of things; each of which, though it had a general meaning, from which it probably was never dissociated, yet in its particular application might be employed as a pure mnemonic, and associated with any special idea of that class to which it belonged.
Hieroglyphics, in this respect, differed essentially from the system of modern mnemonics, wherein the association of symbols with things to be remembered by them is not arbitrary, and therefore not capable of being harmoniously adapted, but fixed, and necessarily incongruous; so that of whatever utility they may be in forming a technical memory, the habit of collocating, and the familiarity of dwelling upon, such heterogeneous materials in the lumber-room of the mind, can have no better effect upon the judgment and the taste than to pervert the one and corrupt the other. For example::-a lecturer on mnemonics,