XXV.

THE SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY DISCOURSE

DELIVERED 25 FEBRUARY, 1790.
BY THE PRESIDENT.
(i.e., Sir William Jones)

[Extracted from Asiatic Researches, vol. 2 (1791), pp. 365-81.]



    Gentlemen,

ALTHOUGH we are at this moment considerably nearer to the frontier of China than to the farthest limit of the British dominions in Hindustan, yet the first step that we should take in the philosophical journey, which I propose for your entertainment at the present meeting, will carry us to the utmost verge of the habitable globe known to the best geographers of Old Greece and Egypt; beyond the boundary of whose knowledge we shall discern from the heights of the northern mountains an empire nearly equal in surface to a square of fifteen degrees; an empire, of which I do not mean to assign the precise limits, but which we may consider, for the purpose of this dissertation, as embraced on two sides by Tartary and India, while the ocean separates its other sides from various Asiatic isles of great importance in the commercial system of Europe. Annexed to that immense tract of land is the peninsula of Corea, which a vast oval bason divides from Nifon, or Japan, a celebrated and imperial island, bearing in arts and in arms, in advantage of situation, but not in felicity of government, a pre-eminence among eastern kingdoms analogous to that of Britain among the nations of the west. So many climates are included in so prodigious an area, that while the principal emporium of China lies nearly under the tropic, its metropolis enjoys the temperature of Sa- [p.366] markand: such too is the diversity of soil in its fifteen provinces, that, while some of them are exquisitely fertile, richly cultivated, and extremely populous, others are barren and rocky, dry and unfruitful, with plains as wild or mountains as rugged as any in Scythia, and those either wholly deserted, or peopled by savage hordes, who, if they be not still independent, have been very lately subdued by the perfidy, rather than the valour, of a monarch, who has perpetuated his own breach of faith in a Chinese poem, of which I have seen a translation.

The word China, concerning which I shall offer some new remarks, is well known to the people whom we call the Chinese; but they never apply it (I speak of the learned among them) to themselves or to their country. Themselves, according to Father Visdelou, they describe as the people of Han, or of some other illustrious family, by the memory of whose actions they flatter their national pride; and their country they call Chum-cue, or the Central Kingdom, representing it in their symbolical characters by a parallelogram exactly bissected. At other times they distinguish it by the words Tien-hia, or What is under Heaven; meaning all that is valuable on earth. Since they never name themselves with moderation, they would have no right to complain, if they knew that European authors have ever spoken of them in the extremes of applause or of censure. By some they have been extolled as the oldest and the wisest, as the most learned and most ingenious of nations; whilst others have derided their pretensions to antiquity, condemned their government as abominable, and arraigned their manners as inhuman, without allowing them an element of science, or a single art for which they have not been indebted to some more ancient and more civilized race of men. The truth perhaps lies, where we usually find it, [p.367] between the extremes; but it is not my design to accuse or to defend the Chinese, to depress or to aggrandize them: I shall confine myself to the discussion of a question connected with my former discourses, and far less easy to be solved than any hitherto started: "Whence came the singular people, who long had governed China, before they were conquered by the Tartars?" On this problem (the solution of which has no concern, indeed, with our political or commercial interests, but a very material connection, if I mistake not, with interests of a higher nature) four opinions have been advanced, and all rather peremptorily asserted than supported by argument and evidence. By a few writers it has been urged, that the Chinese are an original race, who have dwelt for ages, if not from eternity, in the land which they now possess; by others, and chiefly by the missionaries, it is insisted that they sprang from the same stock with the Hebrews and Arabs; a third assertion is that of the Arabs themselves and of M. Pauw, who hold it indubitable, that they were originally Tartars descending in wild clans from the steeps of Imaus; and a fourth, at least as dogmatically pronounced as any of the preceding, is that of the Brahmens, who decide, without allowing any appeal from their decision, that the Chinas (for so they are named in Sanscrit) were Hindus of the Cshatriya, or military class, who, abandoning the privileges of their tribe, rambled in different bodies to the north-east of Bengal; and, forgetting by degrees the rites and religion of their ancestors, established separate principalities, which were afterwards united in the plains and valleys, which are now possessed by them. If any one of the three last opinions be just, the first of them must necessarily be relinquished; but of those three, the first cannot possibly be sustained, because it rests on no firmer support than a foolish remark, whether true or false, that Sem in Chinese means life and procreation and because a tea-plant is not more different [p.368] from a palm than a Chinese from an Arab. They are men, indeed, as the tea and the palm are vegetables; but human sagacity could not, I believe, discover any other trace of resemblance between them. One of the Arabs, indeed (an account of whose voyage to India and China has been translated by Renaudot) thought the Chinese not handsomer (according to his ideas of beauty) than the Hindus; but even more like his own countrymen in features, habiliments, carriage, manners, and ceremonies: and this may be true, without proving an actual resemblance between the Chinese and Arabs, except in dress and complexion. The next opinion is more connected with that of the Brahmens than M. Pauw, probably, imagined; for, though he tells us expressly that by Scythians he meant the Turks, or Tartars, yet the Dragon on the standard, and some other peculiarities, from which he would infer a clear affinity between the old Tartars and the Chinese, belonged indubitably to those Scythians who are known to have been Goths; and the Goths had manifestly a common lineage with the Hindus, if his own argument, in the preface to his Researches on the Similarity of Language be, as all men agree that it is, irrefragable. That the Chinese were anciently of a Tartarian stock, is a proposition which I cannot otherwise disprove for the present, than by insisting on the total dissimilarity of the two races in manners and arts, particularly in the fine arts of imagination, which the Tartars, by their own account, never cultivated; but, if we show strong grounds for believing that the first Chinese were actually of an Indian race, it will follow that M. Pauw and the Arabs are mistaken. It is to the discussion of this new and, in my opinion, very interesting point, that I shall confine the remainder of my discourse.

In the Sanscrit Institutes of civil and religious duties, revealed, as the Hindus believe, by Menu, the son of Brahma, we find the following curious passage: [p.369] "Many families of the military class having gradually abandoned the ordinances of the Veda, and the company of Brahmens, lived in a state of degradation; as the people of Pundraca and Odra, those of Dravira and Camboia, the Yavanas and Sacas, to the Paradas and Pahlavas, the Chinas, and some other nations." A full comment on his text would here be superfluous; but, since the testimony of the Indian author, who, though certainly not a divine personage, was as certainly a very ancient lawyer, moralist, and historian, is direct and positive, disinterested and unsuspected, it would, I think, decide the question before us, if we could be sure that the word China signified a Chinese, as all the Pandits, whom I have separately consulted, assert with one voice. They assure me, that the Chinas of Menu settled in a fine country to the north-east of Gaur, and to the east of Camarup and Nepal, that they have long been, and still are, famed as ingenious artificers; and that they had themselves seen old Chinese idols, which bore a manifest relation to the primitive religion of India before Buddha's appearance in it. A well-informed Pandit showed me a Sanscrit book in Cashmirian letters, which, he said, was revealed by Siva himself, and entitled Sactisangama: he read to me a whole chapter of it on the heterodox opinions of the Chinas, who were divided, says the author, into near two hundred clans. I then laid before him a map of Asia; and, when I pointed to Cashmir, his own country, he instantly placed his finger on the north-western provinces of China, where the Chinas, he said, first established themselves; but he aided, that Mahachina, which was also mentioned in his book, extended to the eastern and southern oceans. I believe, nevertheless, that the Chinese empire, as we now call it, was not formed when the laws of Menu were collected; and for this belief, so repugnant to the general opinion, I am bound to offer my reasons. If the outline of history and chronology for the last two thousand years be correctly traced and we must [p.370] be hardy sceptics to doubt the poems of Calidas were composed before the beginning of our era. Now it is clear, from internal and external evidence, that the Ramayan and Mahabharat were considerably older than the productions of that poet; and it appears from the style and metre of the Dherma Sastra, revealed by Menu, that it was reduced to writing long before the age of Valmic or Vyasa, the second of whom names it with applause. We shall not, therefore, be thought extravagant if we place the compiler of those laws between a thousand and fifteen hundred years before Christ; especially as Buddha, whose age is pretty well ascertained, is not mentioned in them; but, in the twelfth century before our era, the Chinese empire was at least in its cradle. This fact it is necessary to prove; and my first witness is Confucius himself. I know to what keen satire I shall expose myself by citing that philosopher, after the bitter sarcasms of M. Pauw against him and against the translators of his mutilated, but valuable works; yet I quote without scruple the book entitled Lun Yu, of which I possess the original with a verbal translation, and which I know to be sufficiently authentic for my present purpose. In the second part of it Con fu-tsu declares, that "Altho' he, like other men, could relate, as mere lessons of morality, the histories of the first and second imperial houses, yet, for want of evidence, he could give no certain account of them." Now, if the Chinese themselves do not even pretend that any historical monument existed in the age of Confucius, preceding the rise of their third dynasty, about eleven hundred years before the Christian epoch, we may justly conclude that the reign of Vuvam was in the infancy of their empire, which hardly grew to maturity till some ages after that prince; and it has been asserted by very learned Europeans, that even of the third dynasty, which he has the fame of having raised, no unsuspected memorial can now be produced. It was not till the eighth century before the birth of our [p.371] Saviour, that a small kingdom was erected in the province of Shen-si, the capital of which stood nearly in the thirty-fifth degree of northern latitude, and about five degrees to the west of Si-gan: both the country and its metropolis were called Chin; and the dominion of its princes was gradually extended to the east and west. A king of Chin, who makes a figure in the Shahnamah among the allies of Afrasiyah, was, I presume, a sovereign of the country just mentioned; and the river of Chin, which the poet frequently names as the limit of his eastern geography, seems to have been the Yellow River, which the Chinese introduce at the beginning of their fabulous annals. I should be tempted to expatiate on so curious a subject, but the present occasion allows nothing superfluous, and permits me only to add, that Manjrukhan died in the middle of the thirteenth century, before the city of Chin, which was afterwards taken by Kublai, and that the poets of Iran perpetually allude to the districts around it which they celebrate, with Chegil and Khoten, for a number of musk animals roving on their hills. The territory of Chin, so called by the old Hindus, by the Persians, and by the Chinese (while the Greeks and Arabs were obliged by their defective articulation to miscall it Sin) gave its name to a race of emperors, whose tyranny made their memory so unpopular, that the modern inhabitants of China hold the word in abhorrence, and speak of themselves as the people of a milder and more virtuous dynasty; but it is highly probable that the whole nation descended from the Chinas of Menu, and, mixing with the Tartars (by whom the plains of Honau and the more southern provinces were thinly inhabited) formed by degrees the race of men whom we now see in possession of the noblest empire in Asia.

In support of an opinion, which I offer as the result of long and anxious inquiries, I should regularly [p.372] proceed to examine the language and letters, religion and philosophy of the present Chinese, and subjoin some remarks on their ancient monuments, on their sciences, and on their arts, both liberal and mechanical; but their spoken language not having been preserved by the usual symbols or articulate sounds, must have been for many ages in a continual flux; their letters, if we may so call them, are merely the symbols of ideas; their popular religion was imported from India in an age comparatively modern; and their philosophy seems yet in so rude a state as hardly to deserve the appellation; they have no ancient monuments, from which their origin can be traced even by plausible conjecture; their, sciences are wholly exotic; and their mechanical arts have nothing in them characteristic of a particular family; nothing which any set of men, in a country so highly favoured by nature, might not have discovered and improved. They have indeed both national music and national poetry, and both of them beautifully pathetic; but of painting, sculpture, or architecture, as arts of imagination, they seem (like other Asiatics) to have no idea. Instead, therefore, of enlarging separately on each of those heads, I shall briefly inquire, how far the literature and religious practices of China confirm or oppose the proposition which I have advanced.

The declared and fixed opinion of M. De Guignes, on the subject before us, is nearly connected with that of the Brahmans: he maintains, that the Chinese were emigrants from Egypt; and the Egyptians, or Ethiopians (for they were clearly the same people) had indubitably a common origin with the old natives of India, as the affinity of their languages and of their institutions, both religious and political, fully evince; but the China was peopled a few centuries before our era by a colony from the banks of the Nile, tho' neither Persians nor Arabs, Tartars nor Hindus, ever heard of such an emigration, is a paradox, which the bare authority [p.373] even of so learned a man cannot support; and, since reason grounded on facts can alone decide such a question, we have a right to demand clearer evidence and stronger arguments than any that he has yet adduced. The hieroglyphics of Egypt bear, indeed, a strong resemblance to the mythological sculptures and paintings of India, but seem wholly dissimilar to the symbolical system of the Chinese, which might easily have been invented (as they assert) by an individual, and might very naturally have been contrived by the first Chinas, or outcast Hindus, who either never knew, or had forgotten, the alphabetical characters of their wiser ancestors. As to the table and bust of Isis, they seem to be given up as modern forgeries; but, if they were indisputably genuine, they would be nothing to the purpose; for the letters on the bust appear to have been designed as alphabetical; and the fabricator of them (if they really were fabricated in Europe) was uncommonly happy, since two or three of them are exactly the same with those on a metal pillar yet standing in the north of India. In Egypt, if we can rely on the testimony of the Greeks, who studied no language but their own, there were two sets of alphabetical characters; the one popular, like the various letters used in our Indian provinces; and the other sacerdotal, like the Devanagari, especially that form of it which we see in the Veda; besides which they had two sorts of sacred sculpture; the one simple, like the figures of Buddha and the three Ramas; and the other allegorical, like the images of Ganesa, or Divine Wisdom, and Isani, or Nature, with all their emblematical accompaniments; but the real character of the Chinese appears wholly distinct from any Egyptian writing, either mysterious or popular: and, as to the fancy of M. de Guignes, that the complicated symbols of China were at first no more than Phenician monograms, let us hope that he has abandoned so wild a conceit, which he started probably with no other view than to display his ingenuity and learning.

[p.374]

We have ocular proof that the few radical characters of the Chinese were originally (like our astronomical and chymical symbols) the pictures or outlines of visible objects, or figurative signs for simple ideas, which they have multiplied by the most ingenious combinations and the liveliest metaphors; but, as the system is peculiar, I believe, to themselves and the Japanese, it would be idly ostentatious to enlarge on it at present; and, for the reasons already intimated, it neither corroborates nor weakens the opinion which I endeavour to support. The same may as truly be said of their spoken language; for, independently of its constant fluctuation during a series of ages, it has the peculiarity of excluding four or five sounds which other nations articulate, and is clipped into monosyllables, even when the ideas expressed by them, and the written symbols for those ideas, are very complex. This has arisen, I suppose, from the singular habits of the people; for, though their common tongue be so musically accented as to form a kind of recitative, yet it wants those grammatical accents, without which all human tongues would appear monosyllabic. Thus Amita with an accent on the first syllable, means, in the Sanscrit language, immeasurable; and the natives of Bengal pronounce it Omito; but when the religion of Buddha, the son of Maya, was carried hence into China, the people of that country, unable to pronounce the name of their new God, called him Foe, the son of Mo-ye, and divided his epithet Amita into three syllables O-mi-to, annexing to them certain ideas of their own, and expressing them in writing by three distinct symbols. We may judge from this instance, whether a comparison of their spoken tongue with the dialects of other nations can lead to any certain conclusion as to their origin; yet the instance which I have given, supplies me with an argument from analogy, which I produce as conjectural only, but which appears more and more plausible the oftener I [p.375] consider it. The Buddha of the Hindus is unquestionably the Foe of China; but the great progenitor of the Chinese is also named by them Fo-hi, where the second monosyllable signifies, it seems, a victim. Now the ancestor of that military tribe, whom the Hindus call the Chandravansa, or Children of the Moon, was, according to their Puranas or legends, Buddha, or the genius of the planet Mercury, from whom, in the fifth degree, descended a prince named Druhya; whom his father Yayati sent in exile to the east or Hindustan, with this imprecation, "May thy progeny be ignorant of the Veda." The name of the banished prince could not be pronounced by the modern Chinese; and, though I dare not conjecture that the last syllable of it has been changed into Yao, I may nevertheless observe that Yao was the fifth in descent from Fo-hi, or at least the fifth mortal in the first imperial dynasty; that all Chinese history before him is considered by the Chinese themselves as poetical or fabulous; that his father Ti-co, like the Indian king Yayati, was the first prince who married several women; and that Fo-hi, the head of their race, appeared, say the Chinese, in a province of the west, and held his court in the territory of Chin, where the rovers, mentioned by the Indian legislator, are supposed to have settled. Another circumstance in the parallel is very remarkable:—According to Father De Premare, in his tract on Chinese Mythology, the mother of Fo-hi was the Daughter of Heaven, surnamed Flower-loving; and as the nymph was walking alone on the bank of a river with a similar name, she found herself on a sudden encircled by a rainbow; soon after which she became pregnant, and at the end of twelve years was delivered of a son radiant as herself, who, among other titles, had that of Sui, or Star of the Year. Now, in the mythological system of the Hindus, the nymph Rohini who presides over the fourth lunar mansion, was the favourite mistress of Soma, or the Moon, among [p.376] whose numerous epithets we find Cwnudanayaea, or Delighting in a species of water-flower that blossoms at night; and their offspring was Budha, regent of a planet, and called also, from the names of his parents Rauhineya, or Gaumya. It is true that the learned missionary explains the word Sui by Jupiter; but an exact resemblance between two such fables could not have been expected; and it is sufficient for my purpose that they seem to have a family-likeness. The God Budha, say the Indians, married Ila, whose father was preserved in a miraculous ark from an universal deluge. Now, although I cannot insist with confidence, that the rainbow in the Chinese fable alludes to the Mosaic narrative of the flood, nor build any solid argument on the divine personage Nin-va, of whose character, and even of whose sex, the historians of China speak very doubtfully, I may, nevertheless, assure you, after full inquiry and consideration, that the Chinese, like the Hindus, believe this earth to have been wholly covered with water, which, in works of undisputed authenticity, they describe as flowing abundantly, then subsiding, and separating the higher from the lower age of mankind; that the division of time, from which their poetical history begins, just preceded the appearance of Fo-hi on the mountains of China; but that the great inundation in the reign of Yao was either confined to the lowlands of his kingdom, if the whole account of it be not a fable, or, if it contain any allusion to the flood of Noah, has been ignorantly misplaced by the Chinese annalists.

The importation of a new religion into China in the first century of our era, must lead us to suppose that the former system, whatever it was, had been found inadequate to the purpose of restraining the great body of the people from those offences against conscience and virtue, which the civil power could not reach; and it is hardly possible that, without such restrictions, any government could long have subsisted with felicity for no [p.377] government can long subsist without equal justice, and justice cannot be administered without the sanctions of religion. Of the religious opinions entertained by Confucius and his followers, we may glean a general notion from the fragments of their works translated by Couplet. They professed a firm belief in the Supreme God, and gave a demonstration of his being and of his providence from the exquisite beauty and perfection of the celestial bodies, and the wonderful order of nature in the whole fabric of the visible world. From this belief they deduced a system of ethics, which the philosopher sums up in a few words at the close of the Lun-yu: "He," says Confucius, "who will be fully persuaded that the Lord of Heaven governs the universe, who shall in all things chuse moderation, who shall perfectly know his own species, and so act among them that his life and manners may conform to his knowledge of God and man, may be truly said to discharge all the duties of a sage, and to be far exalted above the common herd of the human race." But such a religion and such morality could never have been general, and we find that the people of China had an ancient system of ceremonies and superstitions, which the government and the philosophers appear to have encouraged, and which has an apparent affinity with some parts of the oldest: Indian worship. They believed in the agency of genii, or tutelary spirits, presiding over the stars and the clouds, over lakes and rivers, mountains, valleys, and woods, over certain regions and towns, over all the elements (of which, like the Hindus, they reckoned five) and particularly over fire, the most brilliant of them. To those deities they offered victims on high places a and the following passage from the Shi-cin, or Book of Odes, is very much in the style of the Brahmans:—"Even they, who perform a sacrifice with due reverence, cannot perfectly assure themselves that the divine spirits accept their oblations; and far less can "they, who adore the Gods with languor and oscitancy, [p.378] clearly perceive their sacred illapses." These are imperfect traces indeed, but they are traces of an affinity between the religion of Menu and that of the Chinas, whom he names among the apostates from it. M. Le Gentil observed, he says, a strong resemblance between the funeral rites of the Chinese and the Sraddha of the Hindus, and M. Bailly, after a learned investigation, concludes, that "Even the puerile and absurd stories of the Chinese fabulists, contain a remnant of ancient Indian history, with a faint sketch of the first Hindu ages." As the Bauddhas, indeed, were Hindus, it may naturally be imagined that they carried into China many ceremonies practised in their own country; but the Bauddhas positively forbade the immolation of cattle; yet we know that various animals, even bulls and men, were anciently sacrificed by the Chinese; besides which we discover many singular marks of relation between them and the old Hindus: as in the remarkable period of four hundred and thirty-two thousand, and the cycle of sixty years; in the predilection for the mystical number nine; in many similar fasts and great festivals, especially at the solstices and equinoxes; in the just-mentioned obsequies consisting: of rice and fruits offered to the manes of their ancestors; in the dread of dying childless, lest such offerings should be intermitted; and, perhaps, in their common abhorrence of red objects, which the Indians carried so far, that Menu himself, where he allows a Brahmen to trade, if he cannot otherwise support life, absolutely forbids "his trafficking in any sort of red cloths, whether linen or woollen, or made of woven bark." All the circumstances, which have been mentioned under the two heads of Literature and Religion, seem collectively to prove (as far as such a question admits proof) that the Chinese and Hindus were originally the same people; but having been separated near four thousand years, have retained few strong features of their ancient consanguinity, especially as the Hindus have preserved their old language and [p.379] ritual, while the Chinese very soon lost both; and the Hindus have constantly intermarried among themselves, while the Chinese, by a mixture of Tartarian blood from the time of their first establishment, have at length formed a race distinct in appearance both from Indians and Tartars.

A similar diversity has arisen, I believe, from similar causes, between the people of China and Japan; on the second of which nations we have now, or soon shall have, as correct and as ample instruction as can possibly be obtained without a perfect acquaintance with the Chinese characters. Kæmpfer has taken from M. Titsingh the honour of being the first: and he from Kæmpfer that of being the only European who, by a long residence in Japan, and a familiar intercourse with the principal natives of it, has been able to collect authentic materials for the natural and civil history of a country secluded (as the Romans used to say of our own island) from the rest of the world. The works of those illustrious travellers will confirm and embellish each other; and when M. Titsingh shall have acquired a knowledge of Chinese, to which a part of his leisure in Java will be devoted, his precious collection of books in that language, on the laws and revolutions, the natural productions, the arts, manufactures, and sciences of Japan, will be in his hands an inexhaustible mine of new and important information. Both he and his predecessor assert with confidence, and, I doubt not, with truth, that the Japanese would resent, as an insult on their dignity, the bare suggestion of their descent from the Chinese, whom they surpass in several of the mechanical arts, and, what is of greater consequence, in military spirit; but they do not, I understand, mean to deny that they are a branch of the same ancient stem with the people of China; and, were that fact ever so warmly contested by them, it might be proved by an invinci- [p.380] ble argument, if the preceding part of this discourse, on the origin of the Chinese, be thought to contain just reasoning. In the first place, it seems inconceivable that the Japanese, who never appear to have been conquerors or conquered, should have adopted the whole system of Chinese literature with all its inconveniences and intricacies, if an immemorial connexion had not subsisted between the two nations, or, in other words, if the bold and ingenious race who peopled Japan in the middle of the thirteenth century before Christ, and, about six hundred years afterwards established their monarchy, had not carried with them the letters and learning which they and the Chinese had possessed in common; but my principal argument is, that the Hindu or Egyptian idolatry has prevailed in Japan from the earliest ages; and among the idols worshipped, according to Kæmpfer, in that country before the innovations of Sacya or Buddha, whom the Japanese also called Amida, we find many of those which we see every day in the temples of Bengal; particularly the goddess with many arms, representing the powers of nature; in Egypt named Isis, and here Isani or Isi; whose image, as it is exhibited by the German traveller, all the Brahmans to whom I showed it, immediately recognized with a mixture of pleasure and enthusiasm.—It is very true that the Chinese differ widely from the natives of Japan in their vernacular dialects, in external manners, and perhaps in the strength of their mental faculties; but as wide a difference is observable among all the nations of the Gothic family; and we might account even for a greater dissimilarity, by considering the number of ages during which the several swarms have been separated from the great Indian hive, to which they primarily belonged. The modern Japanese gave Kæmpfer the idea of polished Tartars; and it is reasonable to believe, that the people of Japan, who were originally Hindus of the mar- [p.381] tial class, and advanced farther eastward than the Chinas, have, like them, insensibly changed their features and characters by intermarriages with various Tartarian tribes, whom they found loosely scattered over their isles, or who afterwards fixed their abode in them.

Having now shown in five discourses, that the Arabs and Tartars were originally distinct races, while the Hindus, Chinese, and Japanese proceeded from another ancient stem, and that all the three stems may be traced to Iran, as to a common centre, from which it is highly probable that they diverged in various directions about four thousand years ago, I may seem to have accomplished my design of investigating the origin of the Asiatic nations; but the questions which I undertook to discuss, are not yet ripe for a strict analytical argument; and it will first be necessary to examine with scrupulous attention all the detached or insulated races of men, who either inhabit the borders of India, Arabia, Tartary, Persia, and China, or are interspersed in the mountainous and uncultivated parts of those extensive regions. To this examination I shall, at our next annual meeting, allot an entire discourse; and if, after all our inquiries, no more than three primitive races can be found, it will be a subsequent consideration whether those three stocks had one common root; and, if they had, by what means that root was preserved amid the violent shocks which our whole globe appears evidently to have sustained.