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and poetical, from the Arabic, in the course of the last fifty years, may also be mentioned as favourable to the same object.
The Persian language was also an object of considerable attention, and the knowledge of Persian literature made some progress in Europe during the last age. It was before remarked that the labours of Dr. HYDE, towards the close of the seventeenth century, contributed much to the promotion of this object. This gentleman, from various Persian and Arabian writings, from the relations of travellers, together with numerous letters from persons in the east, compiled his celebrated work on the Ancient Persians, which has been ever since regarded as a standard work in this branch of literature. Since that time much has been accomplished in the same field of inquiry. An attempt will be made to select a few out of the numerous facts and names which might be mentioned under this head.
About the middle of the century M. ANQUETIL DU PERRON, of France, made a voyage to the East, for the purpose of recovering the writings of ZoROASTER, or ZARATUSHT, the celebrated ancient philosopher, who is said to have reformed, or founded, the religion of the Magi. After spending a number of years in Persia and India, and applying himself to Persian literature with great zeal, he returned to his own country in 1761, and not long afterwards published a work under the title of Zend-Avesta, a work ascribed to ZOROASTER, and said to contain his pretended revelations. Though it seems to be generally agreed that this work is spurious, and that it was compiled long posterior to the time in which Zoroaster lived; yet it is, on several accounts, an interesting publication, and a rich source of instruction to the student of Persian literature.
About the time in which M. ANQUETIL published this work, the study of the Persian language began to receive much attention, and to become fashionable among some of the literati of GreatBritain. WARREN HASTINGS, under whose auspices, when afterwards Governor of India, oriental literature was cultivated with so much zeal, became, early in life, fond of this language, and exerted himself to diffuse a knowledge of it in his own country. Sir WILLIAM JONES, also, while yet a youth, discovered much of that enthusiastic attachment to eastern learning, in which he afterwards made such astonishing progress. In 1773 he pub
6 Sir WILLIAM Jones, on the appearance of this work, immediately decided that it was spurious. See his Lettre a M. Adu P-dans laquelle est compris l’Examen de sa traduction des livres attribues a ZOROASTRE. 1771. c Zend-Avesta, Ouvrage de ZOROASTRE, &c. 3 tom. 4to. 1771.
d Sir WILLIAM Jones was one of the brightest ornaments of the eighteenth century, and in sonic respects one of the most wonderful men that ever existed. He died in 1794, after having lived a little more than 47 years. In this short period he had acquired an extent of learning, and a variety and elegance of accomplishments, which seldom fall to the lot of an india vidual. There were few sciences in which he had not made considerable proficiency, and in most his knowledge was profound. His capacity for the acquisition of languages has probably never been excelled. In Greek and Roman literature his early proficiency was the subject of admiration and applause; and knowledge of whatever nature once obtained by him was ever afterwards progressive. The more elegant dialects of modern Europe, the French, the Spanish, and the Italian, he spoke and wrote with the greatest fluency and precision; and the German and Portuguese were familiar to him. At an early period of life his application to oriental li terature commenced; he studied the Hebrew with ease and success, and many of the most learned Asiatics have the candour to avow that his knowledge of Arabic and Persian was as accurate and extensive as their
He was also conversant in the Turkish idioms, and even the Chinese had attracted his notice so far as to induce him to learn the radical characters of that language, with a view perhaps to further improvements. It was to be expected, after his arrival in India, that he would eagerly embrace the opportunity of making himself master of the Sanscrit; and the
lished his History of Nadir Shah, and the lowing his Persian Grammar; both of which works hold an important place among the events in oriental literature with which the age is marked. The version of the former from the original Persian into French, he undertook and accomplished from a regard to the literary reputation of his country, that it might 'not be carried out of England with the reflection that no person had been found in the British dominions capable of translating it. The same accomplished Briton afterwards made several important publications, connected with Persian literature, and shed much additional light on this department of eastern learning:
To Mr. FRANCIS GLADwin, also of GreatBritain, one of the most unwearied labourers in oriental literature which the eighteenth century produced, the public is much indebted for the aid which he rendered to students of the Persian language. Besides several important translations, which alone intitle him to distinction, he published a grammar intitled the Persian Moonshee; and also a Compendious Vocabulary, English and Persian. These were presented to the public about the year 1780, and have received great and just praise.
most enlightened professors of the doctrines of Brahmab confessed, with pride, delights and astonishment, that his knowledge of their sacred dialect was most critically correct and profound. To a proficiency in the languages of Greece, Rome, and Asia, he added a knowledge of the philosophy of those countries, and of every thing curious or valuable that had been taught in them. The doctrines of the Academy, the Lyceum, or the Porch, were not more familiar to him than the tenets of the Vedas, the mysticisms of the Sufis, or the Religion of the Ancient Persians; and whilst, with a kindred genius, he perused with rapture the compositions of the most renowned poets of Greece, Rome, and Asia, he could turn with equal delight and knowledge to the sublime inquiries or mathematical calculations of BARROW and Newton. Besides all these acquisitions the theory of music was familiar to him; he had made himself acquainted with the modern interesting discoveries in chemistry, and his last and favourite pursuit was the study of botany, in which he made great progress, and had his life been spared, would probably have been a reformer and discoverer. His poetic productions discover a vigorous imagination and an elegant taste. His learning and talents as a lawyer were still more eminent. His abilities and integrity as a magistrate and a judge were universally applauded; and, to crown all, the purity of his life, and the fervour of his piety, as a CHRISTIAN, shed a lustre upon every other accomplishment. See a Discourse, delivered before the Asiatic Society in May, 1794, by Sir John Shure, now Lord Teignmouth, prefixed to the first volume of Sir William Jones's Works.
Besides the above mentioned gentlemen, who were eminently distinguished as promoters of Persian literature, some others deserve to be respectfully noticed, as having contributed to the same object. Among these, Mr. RICHARDSON, by his Specimens of Persian Poetry, and other publications; Major Davy, by his Institutes of Timour; Major OUSELEY, by his Oriental Collections ; and M. MIRKHOND, by his Historia Priorum Regum Persarum, have rendered important aid to the students of oriental learning. To these may
be added the valuable information given respecting the arts, sciences, and literature of Persia, by TAVERNIER, FRANKLIN, NIEBUHR, and various other intelligent travellers in that country.
In this branch of oriental literature the eighteenth century presents a degree of progress highly interesting and honourable. Though it is now more than three centuries since Europeans first navigated to India; and though the inhabitants of that and the adjacent countries merit the attention of the curious more, perhaps, than any other people on the globe; yet it is but a few years since any suitable
inquiries were instituted, and any satisfactory information obtained, respecting the literature and science of that important portion of the Asiatic continent.
Early in the century, the Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses, enriched with communications from missionaries in India, were published, and engaged much of the attention of the literary world. After these, M. RENAUDOT, of France, and THEOPH. S. BAYER, a learned German, each communicated to the public some important information concerning the literature and sciences of Hindostan; insomuch that, notwithstanding the great improvements in oriental knowledge since their time, they are still quoted frequently and with high respect. To these great oriental, ists, after an interval of many years, succeeded Mr. HOLWELLS and Mr. Dow, of Great-Britain, who spent some time in the East, and who
professed to give the public much new and curious information concerning the religion and sacred literature of the Hindoos. The publications of these gentlemen, however, are by no means consistent with each other, or with themselves; and although they contain, especially the works of Mr. HolWELL, some useful and instructive matter, they are far from being considered unexceptionable authorities, by later and better informed writers.
Mr. WARREN HASTINGS, soon after receiving the appointment of Governor of Bengal, formed the design of procuring a complete code of the laws and customs of the Hindoos. With a view to the accomplishment of this design, he invited, about the year 1773, a number of Brahmans, who were learned in the Sanscrit language, from Benares, and other parts of the country, to convene in Calcutta. They complied with the invitation, and after making large collections from the most
• Anciennes Relations des Indes, et de la Chine, &c. 1718. if Elementa Literat. Brahmanicæ, &c. 1732.
& See his work on the Fasts, Festivals, and Metempsychosis of the Hindoosa ? vols. 8vo. 1766, and also his Interesting Historical Events, 2 vols. Sve 1766.
16 Translation of FERISHTA's Indian History, 3 vols. 4to. 1770.