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tion, by the labours of learned orientalists in the course of the last age.' At an early period of the century John Hudson, of Great-Britain, commenced this inquiry, and pursued it with honourable success.
He was followed, after an interval of many years, by M. D'Anville, of France, who, in his Antiquitè Geographique de l'Inde, and in his Eclaircissemens Geographiques sur la Carte de l'Inde, gave a more satisfactory and scientific view of the subject than any who had gone
before him. The next important publication on the geography of India was by Major RENNELL, who, in his Map of Hindostan, and in his Memoir accompanying the same, made a present of incomparable value to the public. And, finally, the services rendered to this branch of oriental inquiry by Sir William Jones, Colonel WILFORD, and several other members of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta, demand many acknowledgments from the friends of literature and science.
Besides the contributors to Hindoo literature above named, a number of other gentlemen, who have employed themselves in promoting the same object, deserve to be respectfully mentioned. Among those the several publications of Mr. Orme, an English gentleman much conversant in Hindoo learning; those of Mr. COLEBROOKE, who has translated some Hindoo writings, and thrown considerable light on the history and literature of Hindostan; the Sketches relating to the letters and science of that country, successively given by . FORSTER, CRAUFORD, and KINDERSLEY, all of Great-Britain; and the various works of different comparative value, by Sir John SHORE, Sir Wil
Though the Geography of India does not strictly fall under the denomination of Hindoo Literature; yet, as the two subjects have generally been treated in such a manner as to stand in connection with each other, it is thought proper to introduce this paragraph here.
LIAM OUSELEY, Mr. BURROW, Mr. Hunter, and a number more of the same country, who spent a considerable time in India, have added much to our stock of knowledge respecting that important portion of Asia. But among all the writers on this subject, few have rendered such essential service to the cause of oriental literature as the Reverend THOMAS MAURICE, a learned and ingenious English Divine, who, in his Indian An, tiquities, has collected and laid before the public a mass, of information respecting the theology, geography, jurisprudence, political establishments, and various literature of Hindostan, so rich and instructive, as will entitle him to the lasting gratitude of every friend to liberal knowledge, and genuine religion.
The living languages of India have been better and more extensively understood by Europeans of the eighteenth century than ever before. This is particularly the case with the Bengalee language, of which grammars and dictionaries were introduced into Europe for the first time during this period, and into which a part of the Christian Scriptures were for the first time translated. The establishment of the British East-India Company, and the extensive commercial arrangements of that association, may be considered as bearing a near relation to these events, and as having exerted a favourable influence on the general interests of oriental literature.
It is generally known that Europe is indebted to the learned men of France for almost all the knowledge of Chinese literature of which it can boast.
ť See Indian Antiquities ; or Dissertations relative to Hindostan, 7 vols. 8vo.
As early as the sixteenth century, a number of French Jesuits penetrated into China, and by their learning and address conciliated the favour of the government. These missionaries were followed by others, of various characters and talents, and, in fact, a succession of them was maintained, amidst many changes of reception and treatment, until after the middle of the century under consideration. The opportunities which they enjoyed for exploring the literature and science of that empire were diligently improved. Much of the information which they acquired was transmitted, at different periods, to Europe; and though the faithfulness of their narratives has sometimes been called in question, the works compiled from their letters and journals may be considered as, on the whole, the richest sources of instruction in this department of oriental inquiry."
Toward the close of the seventeenth century, M. COUPLET, one of the missionaries above mentioned, translated such of the works of CONFUCIUS, the celebrated Chinese philosopher, as have been preserved. This was considered as an important service to literature, and gave him an honourable place in the list of oriental scholars. Not long afterwards a very extensive and interesting publication made its appearance in France, under the title of Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses des Missions Estrangeres. The greater part of this work, which was compiled from the papers of the missionaries, and which extended to more than forty volumes, was published at an early period of the eighteenth century, and contains an ample fund of instruction concerning the literature and science of China. This was followed by the Anciennes Relations des Indes, et de la Chine, of M. RENAUDOT, which made an important addition to the stock of information before possessed on the subjects of which it treats. To these succeeded the great work of Father Du HALDE, entitled a General Description of China; and a work, under nearly the same title, by the Abbé GROSIER, both of which are considered as publications of the first class, and as containing much instructive matter relating to the learning, arts, and general condition of the wonderful country which they describe.
v The missionaries have been perhaps too freely charged with the want of fidelity in their accounts of China. Later inquiries have shown that there is ground for this charge, at least in some instances. Still, however, these accounts are highly valuable, and abundantly worthy of perusaha
The singular intricacy of the Chinese language, the difficulty of acquiring a tolerable knowledge even of its elementary principles, and the restraints which have long been imposed upon all intercourse between the learned men of Europe and of China, have prevented an acquaintance with that language from becoming more frequent in the literary world. Hence, while the philosophy, astronomy, history, and other sciences of China have been deeply investigated, and some knowledge of them extensively diffused, during the last age, the characters and structure of the language of that country have been but little explored. A few attempts, however, were made, in the period under review, and not altogether without success, to communicate to the public some information on this subject. In the beginning of the century, and nearly about the same time, THEOPHILUS SIGIFRED Bayer, before mentioned, and M. FOURMONT, a learned orientalist of France, published their researches in the Chinese language. The former was one of the greatest proficients in the literature of China that the age produced; the latter also attained high eminence in the same walk of learning, and published a grammar of the Chinese language, which has received much praise. A few years afterwatds M. De Guignes published the result of his inquiries respecting this language, and gave some specimens of its characters and words. He was followed by M. Pauw, a learned Prussian, who presented to the world what he called Philosophical Researches concerning the Chinese, which, though they indicate the strongest prejudices, yet contain some useful information.
In 1761 a very singular and curious performance made its appearance in Great-Britain. This was a translation of a Chinese novel, under the title of Hau Kiou Chooan, or the Pleasing History, in four volumes. The translation had been made a number of years before by Mr. JAMES WILKINSON, a British merchant, who had resided for some time at Canton, where he studied the Chinese language. The editor was Dr. THOMAS Percy, who accompanied the publication with extensive and learned notes, which have a tendency not only to illustrate the composition immediately connected with them, but also to throw new light on the character of Chinese literature in general."
In 1776 was published the first volume of an extensive work on the literature, sciences, and history of China, compiled from papers communicated by French missionaries in that country. Two Chinese young men, after residing several years in France, and receiving a liberal education, returned to their own country in 1765. They carried with them a number of questions, from some learned societies of France, particularly relating to the literary and philosophical condition of China, and
u See Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres, ese pecially vols. XXX. xxxvi. and xxxviii.
w It is said that the Reverend Dr. Blair, the celebrated teacher of Rhetoric in Edinburgh, once remarked in conversation, that the Pleasing History contained a more authentic and interesting account of the internal state of China, than all the other publications on that subject that he had cver seen.