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pire maintained its communication with India. We perceive from the Geography of Ptolemy, who lived about two hundred years after the Christian era, that the route by land, across the desert, must have been at that time known; and we have, indeed, certain authority for the fact, that when the Romans had ex-tended their conquests as far as the Euphrates, finding the intercourse established by caravans, which travelled at stated seasons from those provinces to India, they took advantage of that communication to import the Indian merchandise over land.

Thus, then, from the age of Alexander down to the period of the Portuguese discovery of the route to India by the Cape of Good Hope, we have seen that a commercial intercourse had subsisted between that country and Europe, both by sea and land. It is, however, only since the period of that important discovery that the country of India has become familiarly known to us, and all the wonders of the Indian policy and system of manners laid open; which prove that great nation to have been perhaps the most early civilized, or at least in remote periods, the most refined aud enlightened of the nations upon the earth.

Long prior, however, to this last period, and as early as the year 1000 after the Christian era, the Mahometans had begun to establish a dominion in India. Mahmoud, a Tartar soldier of fortune, usurping from the Saracens a large part of the kingdom of Bactria, pushed his conquests first into the eastern parts of Persia, and thence into India, establishing the seat of his sov ereignty at Gazna, near the source of the river Indus Thence he pursued his course toward Delhi, ravaging the country in his progress, and signalizing himself by the most ardent zeal for the extirpation of the Hindoo religion. In the year 1194, Mohammed Gori penetrated into India as far as Benares, the great seat of the Hindoo religion and science, to which he showed himself as great an enemy as his predecessor. One of his successors fixed the seat of his empire at Delhi,

which continued thenceforth to be the capital of the Mogul princes. The sovereignty founded in India by Mahmoud was overwhelmed in the year 1222 by Gengis Khan, as was his empire in the succeeding century by Tamerlane, whose posterity at this day nominally fill the throne of the Mogul empire.

The peninsula of India within the Ganges, we have seen, was invaded by the Portuguese in the beginning of the sixteenth century. They made their several establishments, and the viceroy, who resided at Goa, lived with all the splendour of an Asiatic sovereign. The subjects of the great Mogul purchased from the Portuguese the produce of the Indian Spice Islands.

The Mogul empire was, even in the beginning of the last century, one of the most extensive and most powerful on the face of the globe. It was then governed by Aurengzebe, a man signalized equally by his crimes and by his good fortune. The Mogul Shah Jehan, the father of Aurengzebe, had conferred on his four sons the dignity of viceroys, and given them the command of four principal provinces of the empire. Aurengzebe, the youngest of his sons, formed a conspiracy with one of his brothers to dethrone their father; accordingly the old emperor was seized and imprisoned, and soon after died, as was suspected, by poison. Aurengzebe now found it necessary to get rid of his brother, who was the accomplice of his crime; and he was no sooner removed, than this unnatural parricide openly took arms against his other two brothers, and, proving victorious, strangled them both in prison. It was the lot of this wretch, who merited a thousand deaths for his crimes, to enjoy a life prolonged to one hundred and three years, crowned with uninterrupted good fortune; to extend the limits of his empire over the whole peninsula of India within the Ganges, and to die one of the most splendid and powerful of the Asiatic monarchs.

The dominion of the Mogul was not absolute over all those countries which composed his empire.

When Tamerlane overran India, he allowed many of the petty princes to retain their sovereignties, of which their descendants long continued in possession. These were the rajahs, nabobs or viceroys, who exercised all the prerogatives of kings within their dominions, only paying a tribute to the Great Mogul, as being the successor of Tamerlane their conqueror, and observing the treaties by which their ancestors had recognised his superiority.

The original inhabitants of India are the Hindoos, or Gentoos, who profess the religion of Brama. Their priests or bramins pretend that their god or prophet Brama bequeathed to them a book called the Vedam, which contains his doctrines and institutions; but as this book is written in the Sanscrit, which is now a dead language, and only understood by these priests, they give what interpretation they please to the text of this religious code, and different bramins often extract from it the most opposite doctrines and opinions. Throughout all Hindostan the laws of government, customs, and manners make a part of religion, being all transmitted from Brama, the author of this sacred volume. It is from Brama that the Indians derive their veneration for the three great rivers of their country, the Indus, the Krisna, and the Ganges. To him they ascribe the division of the people into tribes or castes, distinguished from each other by their political and religious principles. This division of the Indian castes, is characteristic of a very singular state of society. The four principal castes, or tribes, are the bramins, the soldiers, the husbandmen, and the mechanics. The bramins, as we have already observed, are the priests, who, like the Roman Catholic clergy, are some of them devoted to a life of regular discipline, as the different orders of monks; and others, like the secular clergy, mix in the world, and enjoy all the freedom of social life. The military class includes the rajahs on the coast of Coromandel, and the Nairs on the coast of Malabar. There are likewise

whole nations, for example the Marhattas, who follow arms as an hereditary profession, and who are a kind of mercenaries, who serve for pay to any power that chooses to employ them. The husbandmen, like the soldiers, follow invariably the profession of their ancestors, and occupy themselves solely in the cultivation of their lands. The tribe of mechanics is branched out into as many subdivisions as there are trades, and no man is allowed to relinquish the trade of his forefathers a very singular system, which, as we formerly mentioned, prevailed likewise among the ancient Egyptians. Besides these four principal classes, or tribes, there is a fifth, that of the Pariahs, which is the outcast of all the rest. The persons who compose it are employed in the meanest offices of society They bury the dead; they are the scavengers of the town; and so much is their condition held in detestation, that if any one of this class touches a person belonging to any of the four great castes or tribes, it is allowable to put him to death upon the spot.


these classes, or castes, are separated from each other by insurmountable barriers; they are not allowed to intermarry, to live, or to eat together, and whoever transgresses these rules is banished as a disgrace to his tribe. It is well observed by the Abbé Raynal, that this artificial arrangement, which is antecedent to the tradition of known records, is a most striking proof of the great antiquity of this nation; since nothing appears more contrary to the natural progress of the social connexions, and such an idea could only be the result of a studied plan of legislation, which presupposes a great proficiency in civilization and knowledge.

Between the years 1751 and 1760 the English East India Company conquered and obtained possession of the finest provinces of Hindostan-Bengal, Bahar, and part of Orissa, a territory equal in dimensions to the kingdom of France, abounding in manufacturing towns, possessed of an immense population, and yield

ing a magnificent revenue; and these territories have been constantly and rapidly extending from that period. The East India Company thence has the benefit of the whole trade of India, Arabia, Persia, Thibet, and China; and, with the exception of some settlements ceded to the Dutch of the whole of Eastern Asia.


CHINA AND JAPAN:-Tartar Revolutions-Posterity of Gengis Khan finally maintain possession of the Throne-Pretensions to Antiquity considered.

PROCEEDING eastward in the Asiatic continent, the next great empire which solicits our attention is that of China. Toward the end of the thirteenth century, the Tartar posterity of Gengis Khan were possessed of the sovereignty of China, of India, and Persia. The branch of this Tartar family which then reigned in China was termed Yuen: for the conquerors adopted both the name and the manners of the people whom they conquered. The Chinese were at this time a much more polished people than their invaders, who, therefore, very wisely retained their laws and system of government. The consequence was an easy submission upon the part of the Chinese, who, while they were allowed to follow in quiet and security their ordinary method of life, were very indifferent who sat upon the throne. After this conquest there were nine successive emperors of the family of the Tartars, nor was there the least attempt by the Chinese to expel these foreigners. One of the grandsons of Gengis Khan was, indeed, assassinated in his imperial palace, but it was by one of his own countrymen, a Tartar; and his next heir succeeded to the throne without the smallest opposition.

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