« PreviousContinue »
tryman Mr. Reuben Burrow, who is now in the East, applying himself, diligently, to the study of the Sanscrit language.
The moral philosophy of the Hindoos is so mixed with religious fables and so obscured by metaphysical jargon, that it is in reality a compound of a very peculiar form, and it is, perhaps, held in veneration as much for its intricacy and obscurity as for its pretended divine original: we shall only observe, in general, that it contains many important truths, and that its practice
seems well calculated to promote the happiness of mankind. • The laws which are established on its principles have the general
recommendation of equity; though, perhaps, some objection may be made to those which compose the ceremonial code : fome of them, however, like thofe of the Jews, are calculated to promote the health of their observers, by compelling them to govern their passions, and by prescribing a wholesome diet.
Having now gone through the contents of the Ayeen Akbery, our readers must see, that, in several points of view, it is a moft useful and interesting work. To the historian, it must be peculiarly acceptable ; more especially as all the accounts that have been transmitted to us, either by ancients or moderns, of this (hitherto little known) people, are replete with evident contra. dictions: We are now presented with their history, manners, religious creed, laws, ceremonies, philosophy, and government, by one who lived among them; and for this acquisition we are obliged to the zeal of an Hastings, an Halbed, a Wilkins, and a Gladwin, who, with the powerful aslistance of the East-India Company, have, at least in part, removed the veil, which concealed the literature of the Brahmins from European eyes. By promoting the study of the eastern languages, and by encouraging an intercourse between the learned of the different nations, they have enabled us to read the Hindoo books, so that we are no longer obliged to credit, implicitly, different travellers, who, unacquainted with the language, and having little or no communications with the natives, muft, in course, give imperfect accounts of the country, and misrepresent, perhaps through igonorance, the manners of the people, together with their religious and philosophical tenets. But beside the advantages that the cause of literature may derive from the labours of these gentlemen, an intimate acquaintance with Hindoftan and its inhabitants, must, in a commercial and political view, be a matter of confiderable national importance; for trade and social intercourse can never be so well carried on with a people of whose real character, and modes of thinking, we are, in many respects, ignorant, as with those whom we intimately know; and the better we know them the more advantageous will the commerce
* For some particulars of it, see p. 591. in the article of the Ba. gavadam.
also, rejoices to fee, as we now do, by the affiftance of our translators of the Hindoo books, that the inha. bitants of these distant countries are not an ignorant people, but men endowed with strong natural faculties,-men of learning and discernment,-men who have inculcated the obligations of morality, and who, in regard to fincerity in the practice of what they profess, are, at least, on an equal footing with our. felves,
In fine, the Ayeen Akbery will be admired by the scholar, as a literary curiosity; it will be consulted by the historian as an authentic record ; and ought to be perused by all who have any commercial, or other, connexions with the country to which it relates.- To this end, it is to be hoped, that either the work will be reprinted bere, or that a sufficient number of copies, of the present edition, will be transmitted to England. At prefent, we have not heard of more than one other copy that hath been imported from Bengal, beside that which now lies before us *; for the use of wbich we are obliged to a worthy friend.
The subscription was 40 rupees per volume; or about £15 sterling, for the set."
AR T. XI. Recberches Philosophiques fur les Grecs : i. e. Philosophical Inquiries
concerning the Greeks; by M. De Pauw. 2 Vols. 8vo. Berlin. 1787. [Imported by Meffés. Robson and Clarke, London.] HE gratitude with which the learned of every age have
looked up to Greece, as the nurse of arts and sciences, bas sometimes inspired an enthusiastic partiality in her favour, and led them to ascribe to her more wisdom and virtue than she really poffefled. To counteract prejudices of this nature, to strip facts of those delusive ornaments with which poets, orators, and even historians, have embellished them, and to represent them in the less Aattering, but more useful, light of truth, appears to be M. De Pauw's design in these volumes; in which he has, with no small degree of critical fagacity, detected many mifrepresentations in ancient, and many errors in modern, writers; but there is, in the whole of his work, a supercilious, dogmarical manner, which disgusts the reader ; and he treats those from whom he differs with a contempt which is the less excusable, because, from the nature of the subject, he, as well as the 'authors who fall under his censure, is often obliged to have recourse to conjecture, in order to supply the want of historical evidence.
* Exclusive of such copies as may have been brought hither, by subscribers, who have lately returned to Europe.
The work is divided into four parts, three of which relate to the Athenians, to whom, more than to any other nation of Greece, we are indebted for arts and sciences; whose pursuits and studies tended to instruct later ages, not only in the culture of the liberal arts, but also in those more important objects of philofophy and legislation, without which mankind may in. deed exift, but cannot be truly happy or respectable.
M. De Pauw's inquiries relate to the following particulars: the country of Attica, and the city of Athens ;-the physical constitution of the Athenians ;-their moral and intellectual character ; – their education ; - the schools of the philofophers ;- the distinctions of rank among them ;-their luxury ;-their commerce and finances ;-their laws and tribunals ;-their political constitution, and their religious infitutions.
These subjects have indeed been often discussed; but M. de Pauw's diligence in collecting every article of information that can be gathered from the works of orators and dramatic poets, as well as from hiftorians and politicians, has enabled him to consider some of them in a light in which they have not generally been viewed ; and his peculiar turn of thought and expresfion gives him an air of originality, even where he follows the opinions of preceding writers.
According to the accounts collected by this Author, Athens could not have been a very beautiful or elegant city. Aristotle informs us, that the upper stories of their houses projected over the streets, which muft have destroyed their fymmetry, and impeded the free circulation of air *. We are told by Dicæarchus, that, on entering the town, a stranger had reason to doubt whe ther he was really in Athens; that the streets were remarkably irregular, the city ill provided with water, and the houses, in general, mean t. Indeed, the nature of the government, as M. De Pauw well observes, prevented the wealthy from din playing any great magnificence in their town habitations; and it is remarked, with approbation, by Demosthenes, that in the best times of the republic, the houses of Themiftocles and Aristides could not be distinguished from those of their neighbours, Hence the nobles of Attica conceived an averfion to the city, and chose to indulge their taste for splendour in a solitary villa, or retired village, rather than to live undistinguished among, what they styled, an insolent populace, whose pride it was, to crush that of all others. But the circumstance which must have been molt detrimental to the beauty of the city, was the spaces which, Xenophon tells us, were left vacant, wheiever houses had been either destroyed by fire, or razed by a decree of the
* Ariftot. Oeconomic. lib. ii.
people; people; for the ground on which these had stood being deemed fatal and execrable, none were permitted to build on it.
With these defects, M. de Pauw observes, Athens could not be rendered a beautiful city. The great magnificence dirplayed in the temples and public buildings, made the meanness of private houses appear more conspicuous. The eye was rapidly carried from one extreme to its oppofite, without discerning any intermediate point on which it might repose ; and as there was neither proportion nor connexion between the several parts, there could not be beauty in their assemblage as an whole. The three thousand ftatues, erected in the public places, and under the porticoes, of Athens, could not atone for the deformity of the streets ; because ornaments cannot atone for defects.
Among the Athenians, beauty of person seems to have been the portion of the male, rather than of the female sex : the lat. ter, however, disdained not the assistance of art, to improve those charms, of which, in M. de Pauw's opinion, nature had not been very liberal. Their morals' were under the infpection of the Gynæconomi, who were always members of the Areopagus; and their dress, under that of another tribunal, the magiftrates of which were diftinguished by the appellation of Gynæcocosmi, who punished, with great severity, those that were careless and flovenly in their external appear. ance : hence the ladies ran into the opposite extreme, ruined their families by their expences in dress, adopted the most extravagant fashions, and at length plaistered their faces and boroms with paint, in a degree so disgusting, that it has never yet been equalled in any civilized country. Quære, Has M. DE PAUW visited Paris lately?
Dr. Gillies, in his History of Greece, has dwell with a degree of enthusiasm on the advantages, both natural and moral, resulting from the gymnastic exercises and public games : but the pretent author is of a very different opinion, and afferts that nothing could be more pernicious, or tend more to enervate the human race, than these exercises. With respect to the moral advantages of the public games, what Dr. Gillies has said is rather eloquent declamation than folid argument; but, on the other hand, we cannot help thinking that M. De Pauw, in his estination of their medical effects, shews but little knowlege in phyfiology, and represents the accidents which sometimes happened to the athletæ as the natural consequences of their exercises.
From comparing the several accounts of the population of Attica, in the time of Pericles, of Demofthenes, and of Demetrius Phalereus, M. De Pauw conjectures, that the number of citizens was preserved nearly at the same level, in consequence of the adoption of strangers, to repair the extraordinary devafta
tions of war and disease, and of emigrations, when the number exceeded that which the rules of policy had established : this was twenty thousand men ; and he supposes that there was an equal number of women. In the time of Demetrius Pha. lereus, the strangers fettled in Attica amounted to ten thoufand, and the flaves to four hundred thousand ; so that the whole may be estimated at four hundred and fifty thousand, to about eighty-fix square leagues of territory, or above five thousand, on an average, to each square league. This, M. DE Pauw observes, is a much greater population than that of France, which, according to M. Necker's calculations, contains not more than nine hundred inhabitants to a square league.
Of the Athenian matrons this Writer gives us no very favourable ideas. The retirement in which they lived before marriage deprived them of the advantages of education, insomuch that the courtezans, who could frequent the schools of philosophy, were much more accomplished than married women of the first quality, few of whom could even speak their own language with tolerable propriety. After marriage, however, their confinement was by no means so rigid as some have supposed, Xenophon (in the Dialogue between Hieron and Simonides) says, that provided their conduct was mild and peaceable, the mothers of families were treated with great respect; that much compassion was shewn to the infirmisies of their sex ; that a first instance even of sheir conjugal infidelity was easily pardoned, and a second soon forgotten. On the authority of Atheneüs and Plutarch, M. De Pauw represents them as addicted to drunkenness, and the most diffolute sensuality; he says, that they were turbulent and quarrelsome, and that, notwithstanding all the concessions of their husbands, domestic peace was very seldom found in their habitations. It is certain that the feasts of Bacchus, and some other religious inftitutions which the women claimed a right to celebrate, could not tend to inspire either gentleness of manners or purity of morals.
In his observations on the distinctions of rank in society, M. De Pauw has introduced a judicious comparison between the nobles of Athens and of Rome ; and bas ihtwn how greatly fuperior, in this respect, the constitution of the former was to that of the latter, where the oppreffive power of the patricians was an inexhaustible source of civil discord, and of every evil which can result from that worst kind of government an ill-constituted republic. He ascribes this superiority, in a great measure, to the regulations established by Solon, according to wbich, the Archons were excluded from the command of the army, and the office of Senator was limited to a year, instead of being held for life : it was likewise owing to the mediocrity of fortune por