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shown that the Greek stadia, the Roman miles, the schæna of the Persians, the schæna of the 'Egyptians, the coss and the gau of the Indians, have all an exact and determined proportion to each other; that they all consist of a small measure repeated a certain number of times; and this universal and original measure M. Bailly proves to be the grand cubit which is preserved upon the Nilometer at Cairo.* All the five measurements of the earth before mentioned coincide with each other, and are the same with the measurement made by the moderns. But from all that we know of the progress of the Greeks, the Chaldeans, Indians, and Chinese, in the sciences, none of these nations were ever capable of making so exact a mensuration. He, therefore, draws the same inference as from all the other instances of agreement we have mentioned.
"These wonderful coincidences," M. Bailly coneludes, can be accounted for only by three suppositions-First, that there was an easy and free communication between all the nations of Asia; or, secondly, that the circumstances of coincidence have so essential a foundation in human nature, and in the nature of things, that nations left to themselves could not fail to have hit upon them; or, thirdly, that they have been all derived from
one common source.
With regard to the first supposition, this free communication between distant nations, and interchange of ideas, of customs, of arts, and of sciences, never did exist, nor ever could have existed. Human nature in all ages has been the *It is twenty and a half French inches.
same; and nations in every period of antiquity, as well as at this day, have manifested the strongest attachment to their own opinions, and to their own modes of thinking and of acting. Between many of the nations of Asia there was no possibility of intercourse. Distance and natural obstructions formed insuperable barriers. Many of those ancient nations had a rooted abhorrence of all strangers. The Egyptians were remarkable for this antipathy. The Chinese are known to possess it in its utmost violence at this day. Whence the conformity, then, of opinions or of arts between these two nations, separated too, as they are, by a distance of three thousand leagues?
Secondly: Those circumstances of coincidence are not such as have so essential a foundation in Nature, that nations having no intercourse must of themselves have hit upon them: in truth, many of the circumstances we have mentioned have no better foundation than the caprice of imagination, which is infinitely various. Many of those circumstances of coincidence are, as we have seen, so complicated, that an agreement of two nations by mere chance in the same thing, would be nothing less than miraculous. Suppose that, in some future age, there should happen in Europe such a revolution as to destroy all the written records of the present time, and to leave nothing but a few scattered fragments, such as remain at present of the writings of the ancients. Suppose that, after an interval of many ages, a learned lawyer were to study those fragments, with a view of finding out the state of jurisprudence in Europe
in the eighteenth century: he would find a number of similar laws among the Italians, the French, the Germans, &c. What must he thence conclude? He knows that those nations inhabited different countries, were under different governors, and were rivals and enemies to each other. Would it ever enter into his imagination that they had all borrowed from each other those laws which are found to be the same? No, certainly; this would be a weak and unphilosophical supposition. He would conclude from those resemblances, that all those nations had at one period been subdued by a powerful and predominant people, who framed those laws; and that, after a time, those nations having freed themselves from the yoke of that powerful people, and established severally free governments for themselves, still chose to retain such laws as they had found by experience to be wise and salutary. This we know to be a truth with respect to the nations of Europe. But perhaps, after a period of two thousand years from this time, the certainty of this fact may be lost, and the whole become only a theory. This should be applied to the subject of which we now treat. The historical certainty is lost, the rational theory remains.
Thirdly: The only rational supposition, then, remains; viz., that there must have been a great original nation, now utterly extinct, and of whose history no document remains, who had advanced to a very high degree of perfection in the sciences and arts; who either subdued or sent colonies to the other countries of Asia; who, in fine, were their instructors, and communicated their know
ledge and improvements to nations more barbarous than themselves.
It remains to determine where was the residence of this great nation; and M. Bailly has assigned many plausible reasons for placing it about the forty-ninth or fiftieth degree of north latitude, to the north of Tartary, and in the country now known by the name of Siberia. All ancient history is agreed as to the populousness of that region of the earth, and many nations at this day trace their origin from it. The Chinese assign to themselves an origin from that quarter; and so likewise, as we have formerly seen, do the Danes and other Scandinavian nations. The resemblance of the Japanese in feature and bodily figure to the Tartars, strongly marks a descent from that great parent stock. It is ingeniously remarked by Bailly, that the production of nitre is more abundant in Tartary and Siberia than in any other region of the earth. Now, nitre is produced solely from animal substances: a proof thence arises of the great population of those countries.
Other facts tend still more strongly to confirm this idea of the local situation of this ancient people. The observations of the rising of the stars, collected by Ptolemy, must have been made in a climate where the longest day was sixteen hours. This corresponds to the latitude of fortynine or fifty degrees; but in the age of Ptolemy there was no nation in Europe which understood astronomy and inhabited that latitude. It must, therefore, have been an Asiatic people, inhabiting the northern parts of Tartary, or the southern regions of Siberia.
The Zendavesta, or the sacred book containing the religion of Zoroaster, says, that the longest day of summer is double the length of the shortest day of winter; but this applies not to Persia, where Zoroaster lived, but to a climate twenty degrees to the north of Ispahan.
The measure of the circumference of the earth, as recorded by Aristotle-which, it has been already observed, could not have been computed by the Greeks, nor by any of the ancient nations known in Aristotle's time-gives the measurement of a degree precisely corresponding to its real length in the latitude of forty-nine or fifty. The people, therefore, who executed that great enterprise, the exact mensuration of the earth, lived in that latitude.
The pilgrimages of the Indians to the pagod of the Great Lama, through a vast tract of desert and inhospitable country, is a singular fact, and must have had some extraordinary motive. Does it not afford room to conjecture, that the Indian religion must have originated in that quarter for which they have still so much veneration? An Indian, who was told that the remotest nations of Europe were wont to take long pilgrimages to the distant country of Judæa, would certainly conclude with reason that that country had been the original seat of an ancient and venerable system of religion.
It affords no solid objection to this hypothesis, that the country which is supposed to have been formerly so cultivated and enlightened is now inhabited by a rude and ignorant people. To have reasoned as to the ancient state of Turkey from