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niards in this country, and immediately conveyed intelligence of this conspiracy to the court of Japan. The Portuguese officer was seized, and confessed the whole design. He was immediately put to death, and the emperor, in a solemn assembly of his nobles, pronounced an edict, forbidding, on pain of death, any of his subjects leaving the kingdom; and commanding that all the Spaniards and Portuguese should be instantly expelled from Japan ; that all Christian converts should be imprisoned, and offering a very high reward for the discovery of any priest or missionary who should remain in his dominions. The Christians actually rose in arms, and were mad enough to attempt resistance, but they were overpowered and expelled to a man. The Dutch themselves, who had done the empire this essential service, shared the same fate with all other foreigners. They were even compelled to assist in carrying the emperor's edict into execution, and to employ the cannon of their own ships in bombarding a fortress, where some of the Spaniards had betaken themselves for shelter. The only favour the Dutch received was a permission to land upon one of the smallest islands of the empire, provided they agree to take an oath that they are not of the Portuguese religion, and to trample upon the cross in testimony of it. They are then permitted to exchange their commodities with the natives, but are not allowed to fix their own prices, for this must be done by the Japanese. Such, at this day, is all the intercourse the Europeans have with the empire of Japan ; with which, till the middle of the last century, they carried on a most lucrative and beneficial commerce.
M. Bailly's Theory of the Origin of the Sciences among the
Nations of Asia,
FROM a consideration of the manners, customs, and laws of the Chinese, and a comparison between them and the Egyptians, of whom we formerly treated at large under the period of ancient history, some learned men among the moderns have formed a conjecture that the Chinese were originally a colony of the Egyptians ; and they have thus endeavoured to account for the striking similarity between them in many particulars of their manners, laws, and attainments in the sciences. But this similarity is not confined to the Egyptians and Chinese. These nations, together with the Indians, the Persians, the Babylonians, all exhibit some of the most wonderful features of coincidence; and this circumstance would, therefore, equally conclude for the common origin of all those different nations. This subject opens views of a very curious and interesting nature.
In the Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, we find an account of a dissertation read by M. de Mairan, in which that ingenious writer draws a parallel between the Egyptians and Chinese, from which he concludes, as the only means of accounting for their resemblance, that there must formerly have been a communication
between these distant nations, and thinks it probable that a band of Egyptians had at some period penetrated into China.
M. de Mairan's parallel consists of the following remarkable instances of similarity, which may be classed under seven distinct heads.
First, the Egyptians and Chinese had the same fixed attachment to their ancient customs and abhorrence of innovations. Secondly, these nations were alike remarkable for the high measure of respect entertained by children to their parents, for the reverence bestowed on old age, and for the veneration they had for the bodies of their deceased ancestors. Thirdly, the Chinese and Egyptians were alike remarkable for their aversion to war, and deficiency in military genius; and both, in consequence, were frequently subdued by neighbouring tions. Fourthly, both were remarkable for the same general knowledge of the arts and sciences, which they carried to a certain point of advancement, but were unable to go farther. Fifthly, the Egyptians had a hieroglyphical language not representative of the language they spoke, but of ideas only. The ancient Chinese had, in like manner, a hieroglyphical language distinct from the characters they used in ordinary writing. The Japanese and the Coreans derived the use of hieroglyphics from them, and employ them at this day. Sixthly, the Egyptians had a solemn festival called the Feast of the Lights. The most solemn festival of the Chinese is the Feast of the Lanterns *. And in the seventh and
* The authors of the Modern Universal History most whimsically derive the origin of this festival from the number of
last place, M. de Mairan remarks, that there is a similarity between the features of the Chinese and the ancient Egyptian statues.
A modern hypothesis, of a very ingenious nature, accounts not only for those remarkable circumstances of similarity between these two nations, but for many wonderful coincidences both in manners and in opinions of the Indians, the Persians, the Chaldeans, and, in short, of almost all the great nations of antiquity. The hypothesis alluded to is that of M. Bailly, author of the History of the Ancient and modern Astronomy,' and is contained in a series of letters addressed by him to M. de Voltaire, and published under the title of Lettres sur l’Origine des Sciences et sur celles des Peuples de l'Asie.' This theory is not only in itself a beautiful effort of philosophic ingenuity, but the facts by which it is supported tend to throw considerable light on the early state of the arts and sciences among the Asiatic nations.
It is the idea of M. Bailly, that there has been a very ancient people of whom every trace is now extinct; a polished people who had attained to a great degree of perfection in the arts and sciences, and to whom the Chinese, the Persians, the Chaldeans, or Babylonians, the Indians and the Egyptians, in short, all of the most ancient nations to whom historical record extends, were indebted for
lamps which Noah was obliged to make use of in the ark, and make this an argument in support of their hypothesis, that Noah himself visited China, and planted there all those arts and sciences which were known to the antediluvian world. See Mod. Univ. Hist., vol. viii. p. 352.
that measure of knowledge they possessed in those arts and sciences. “ If you see,” says M. Bailly, “ the house of a peasant chiefly composed of the rudest materials, but here and there interspersed with fragments of sculptured stones, or pieces of elegant columns, you must, of necessity, conclude, that these fragments are the remains of a palace, or elegant edifice constructed by an ancient architect of much greater skill and ability than the builder of that cottage.” This principle is the foundation of M. Bailly's hypothesis.
China exhibits the traces of a perfection in the sciences, to which the present Chinese and their ancestors, for many ages, have been most signally inferior. They are possessed of astronomical instruments which they cannot use, and have no desire to be taught the use of. Science we find among the modern nations is progressive ; the present age avails itself of the lights of the past. In China, all science is stationary, and has ever
The Chinese are at present, with respect to most of the sciences, like the inhabitants of a country recently discovered by a polished people, who have communicated some of their improve ments to them, and left their instruments among them. If Captain Cook had left a quadrant and a telescope at Otaheite, the inhabitants of that island would at present know as much of the use of those instruments as the Chinese do, who have been astronomers for two thousand years. Hence it is reasonable to infer, that the Chinese have no natural genius for those sciences; they, therefore, could not have sprung up among themselves, but must have been imported into that country from a