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sitions in his Historia Regni Græcorum Bactriani, That the Indians borrowed some things from the Greeks, which the Greeks have been more generally supposed to have borrowed from the Indians.

Before I proceed to take any notice of this remark, in so far as it may be supposed to invalidate my own conjectures, I think it proper to observe, in the first place, in justice to Bayer, that I can see no foundation whatever in his work for the criticism above quoted, inasmuch as his argument is confined almost entirely to the names of numbers, the system of numeration, and a few other matters of scientific nature. So far as I can recollect, the words expressing the different relations of consanguinity are not once alluded to.

But, admitting the criticism to be conclusive against Bayer's hypothesis, it can in no way effect mine ; as it by no means follows, from the similarity between the Sanscrit names for particular objects, and those in Greek, that the Indians, till the Invasion of Alexander, had no words of the same import in their native tongue. With the choice of different languages, which I have supposed the manufacturers of the Sanscrit to have had before them, it must have depended on the most trifling accidents, often upon mere caprice, to which of them they gave the preference on particular occasions in making their selections. Probably much would depend upon the sound that was most agreeable to the ear, or that suited best with their system of prosody; and much also upon the combination of letters which their organs were fitted to pronounce most easily.

In the foregoing conjectures, I have not thought it necessary to attend to the distinction pointed out by some writers, between Brahmans and Bramins, or to allude to the question, whether the worship of Boodh or that of Brahma was prior in order of time. * It is sufficient for my argument, if it

which is sanctioned by the authority of Mr. Hamilton, will, I trust, be a sufficient apology for the length of this note.

The charge which Mr. Hamilton has brought against Bayer, of undervaluing the early advances which the Hindoos are said to have made in the sciences, might, with far greater justice, have been urged against Meiners, who has gone so very far as to assert, “ Ante Alexandri Ætatem nullas inter Indos literas,

neque veram philosophiam extitisse.”—Historia de Vero Deo, p. 107. This opinion is, I think, sufficiently refuted by the universal testimony of antiquity.

* See Pinkerton's Geography, Vol. I. p. 713.

Mr. Crawford does not seem to have considered the difference between Brah. mans and Bramins as very wide. “ If we compare the Bramins of the present "day, with the Brahmans of antiquity, we shalī, in almost every feature of their

character, perceive the strongest resemblance. The difference that may exist " between them, may partly have insensibly taken place in the lapse of time; but


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be granted, that a learned, artful, and aspiring priesthood' existed (at least in embryo, *) at the time of Alexander's conquest. And of this, the folowing circumstance mentioned by Strabo, on the authority of Onesicritus, (who was an eye and ear-witness of the facts in question) is a sufficient proof,—That a Alexander, being desirous to obtain some information concerning the tenets and manners of the Brachmans, resolved to send Onesicritus to converse with them; as he was given to understand, that, if they were summoned to attend him, they would decline to obey the invitation, on the pretence that They who wished for instruction should repair to those from whom they expected to receive it.t

The following particulars relating to the question about the priority of Brahmanism and Boudhism may, to some readers

, be objects of curiosity. I quote them from a very interesting paper on the religion and literature of the Burmahs, by Dr. Francis Buchanan. I 66 Mr. Chambers, the most judicious of our Indian Antiquaries, has given good reason for believ


“ must chiefly be ascribed to the revolutions that have happened in their govern. “ ment. The words are evidently the same, and derive their origin from Brahma, God.”—Sketches, &c. of the Hindoos, p. 190.

* I have said at least in embryo; for although it does not appear from Strabo's account that, at the period in question, the Brahmans formed a distinct or Levitical tribe, possessing the unlimited influence in India which they afterwards acqui- KOS red, yet it is plain from the particulars he mentions with respect to the studies to

11 which these Sophists addicted themselves; their eagerness to attract notice by the singularity of their manners; and, above all, by their high pretensions in point of consequence, that they were already aiming systematically, and not without I success, to attain an undue ascendant over the minds of their countrymen.

The following is the account of the Bramins given by Arrian in his Indian History: (Not having the original at hand, I quote from Mr. Rooke's translation.) “ The Indians are chiefly distinguished into seven ranks or classes among them. “ selves, one of which is their sophists or wise men; these are much inferior to all “ the rest in numbers, but vastly superior to them in honour and dignity. They “ are never required to do any bodily labour, nor do they contribute any thing out “ of their gains towards the support of the public ; nor, indeed, have they any “ nanner of occasion to work at all, their only business being to offer sacrifices “ for the public welfare; and if any person sacrifices privately, some of these so“ phists are employed to show him the way and manner thereof, otherwise they “ imagine the gods would not accept his sacrifice. They are, moreover, the only “ diviners throughout all India, neither are any suffered to practise the art of di• vination except themselves. They never meddle with private affairs, either “ because they think that the art of divination extends not to inferior things, of, “ perhaps, because they think it beneath their art to stoop to trifles.”-Arrian's Indian History, chapters x. and xi., translated by Mr. Rooke, Vol. II. pp.

+ The account given by Strabo of the motives which decided the conduct of Alexander on this occation, does honour to his prudence and forbearance.

“ Pro( inde cum essent tales, neque sibi decorum putaret Alexander ad illos accedere, “ nec vellet invitos cogere ut quicquam facerent præter patria instituta, se missum “ inquit, &."-Strabo, lib. xv. Amstel. ed. p. 715.

| Asiatic Researches, Vol. VI.

222, 223.


On be


ing that the worship of Bouddha once extended over all "India, and was not rooted out by the Brahmans in the Dec"can so late as the ninth, or even as the twelfth century of " the Christian Æra."* The same Author (Dr. Buchanan) has elsewhere remarked, that, “ however idle and ridiculous " the legends and notions of the worshippers of Bouddha may "be, they have been in a great measure adopted by the Brah"maps, but with all their defects monstrously aggravated ; "Rajahs and Heroes are converted into gods, and impossibili"ties are heaped on improbabilities." +

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BEFORE the reader pronounces a decisive opinion on the conjectures which I have now submitted to his consideration,

I must request his earnest attention to the long extract which jer follows. It contains the most ample and candid acknowledg.

ment by Mr. Wilford, of the frauds which had been successfully practised on himself by certain Bramins, of whose assistance he had availed himself in the prosecution of his rerearches. I shall transcribe the passage in his own words, as I think they cannot fail to shake the faith of every person who peruses them with attention, in the unfathomable antiquity of the Sanscrit, as well as in whatever other information is derived to us through so very suspicious a channel as that of the Hindoo priesthood. The palinode of Major Wilford has been long before the public; but it has attracted much less attention than the fictions which he has so honourably disarowed.

“A fortunate, but, at the same time, a most distressful disbi

covery contributed to delay the publication of this paper.
Though I never entertained the least doubt concerning the
6 genuineness of my vouchers, (having cursorily collated them
" with the originals a little before I had completed my Essay,)
"yet, when I reflected how cautious an author ought to be,
"and how easily mistakes will take place, I resolved once

more to make a general collation of my vouchers with the
" originals, before my Essay went out of my hands. This i
" conceived was a duty which I owed not only to the public,
" but to my own character.
“On going on with the collation, I soon perceived, that,

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* Asiatic Researches, Vol. VI. p. 163. † Ibid. p. 166.

" whenever the word S'wetam, or S'weta-dwipa,* the name " of the principal of the Sacred Isles, and also of the whole “ cluster, was introduced, the writing was somewhat different, 66 and that the paper was of a different colour, as if stained. “ Surprised at this strange appearance, I held the page to the “ light, and perceived immediately that there was an erasure, " and that some size had been applied. Even the former “ word was not so much effaced, but that I could sometimes “ make it out plainly: I was thunderstruck, but felt some “ consolation in knowing, that still my manuscript was in my - own possession. I recollected my Essay on Egypt, and in« stantly referred to the originals which I had quoted in it;

my fears were but too soon realized, the same deception, 6 the same erasures appeared to have pervaded them. I shall " not trouble the Society with a description of what I felt, " and of my distress at this discovery. My first step was “ to inform my friends of it, either verbally, or by letters, " that I might secure, at least, the credit of the first dis" closure.

“When I reflected that the discovery might have been made by others, either before or after my death ; that, in the one

case, my situation would have been truly distressful ; and 66-that, in the other, my name would have passed with in

famy to posterity, and increased the calendar of imposture, “ it brought on such paroxysms, as threatened the most serious " consequences in my then infirm state of health. I formed, " at first, the resolution to give up entirely my researches and “pursuits, and to inform government and the public of my 66 misfortune. But my friends dissuaded me from taking any 66 hasty step ; and advised me to ascertain, whether the de

ception pervaded the whole of the authorities cited by me, " or some parts only. I followed their advice, and having re- sumed the collation of my vouchers with unexceptionable “ manuscripts, I found that the impositions were not so exten66 sive as I had apprehended.

* For the sake of those who are not acquainted with the speculations of Major Wilford, it is proper to mention, that his great object is to prove that the Sacred Isles of the Hindoos are the British Isles, and, in particular, that S'weta-dwipa, or the White Island, is England,

“ The Sacred Isles in the west,” (he informs us,) " of which S'weta-dwipa, or " the White Island, is the principal and the most famous, are, in fact, the Holy “ Land of the Hindus. There the fundamental and mysterious transactions of the “ history of their religion, in its rise and progress, took place. The White Isl“ and, this Holy Land in the west, is so intimately connected with their religion « and mythology, that they cannot be separated : and, of course, divines in India

are necessarily acquainted with it, as distant Muselmans with Arabia.”-Asiatic Researches, Vol. VIII. 8vo. ed. p. 246.

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“ The nature of my inquiries and pursuits was originally " the source of this misfortune. Had they been confined to "some particular object, to be found within the limits of a few “ books, as astronomy, it could never have taken place ; but “ the case was very different. The geography, history, and "mythology of the Hindus, are blended together, and disper"sed through a vast number of voluminous books, in which "prevails a most disgusting confusion and verbosity. Besides, " the titles of their books have seldom any affinity with the "contents; and I have often found most valuable materials “ in treatises, the professed subject of which was of the most “unpromising nature.

“ Thus, when I began to study the Sanscrit language, I was

obliged to wade, with difficulty, through ponderous volumes, “ generally without finding any thing valuable enough to re"ward me for my trouble. But, in the course of conversation,

my Pandit, and other learned natives, often mentioned most "interesting legends, bearing an astonishing affinity with those " of the western mythologists.

“I consequently directed my Pandit to make extracts from "all the Puránás, and other books relative to my inquiries, "and to arrange them under proper heads. I gave him a pro"per establishment of assistants and writers, and I requested “him to procure another Pandit to assist me in

my studies

; " and I obtained for his farther encouragement, a place for "him in the College at Benares. At the same time, I amused "myself with unfolding to him our ancient mythology, history, and geography. This was absolutely necessary as a clue "to guide him through so immense an undertaking, and I had « full confidence in him. His manners were blunt and rough, " and his arguing with me on several religious points with coolness and steadiness, (a thing very uncommon among natives, who on occasions of this sort, are apt to recede, or even coincide in opinion,) raised him in my esteem.

I af"fected to consider him as my Guru, or spiritual teacher ;

and, at certain festivals, in return for his discoveries and "communications, handsome presents were made to him and

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"his family.

“ The extracts which I thus received from him, I continued "to translate, by way of exercise, till, in a few years, this col"lection became very voluminous. At our commencement I

enjoined him to be particularly cautious in his extracts and " quotations, and informed him, that, if I should, at a future “period, determine to publish any thing, the strictest scrutiny "would take place in the collation. He seemed to acquiesce

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