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have supposed the Caspian Sea to received, was given by Anthony be connected with the Euxine. Jenkinson, an English merchant, Quintus Curtius, whose ignorance who, with a caravan from Russia, of geography is notorious, has a- travelled along a considerable part dopted this error, lib. vii. c. 7. of its coast in the year 1558; Hakedit. 3. Arrian, though a much luyt Collect. vol. i. p. 334. The
. more judicious writer, and who, by accuracy of Jenkinson's description residing for some time in the Roman was confirmed by an actual survey province of Cappadocia, of which of that sea, made by order of Peter he was governor, might have ob- the Great, A. D. 1718, and it is ; tained more accurate information, now ascertained not only that the declares, in one place, the origin Caspian is unconnected with any of the Caspian Sea to be still un- other sea, but that its length from known, and is doubtful whether it north to south is considerably more was connected with the Euxine, or than its greatest breadth from east to with the great eastern ocean, which west. From this detail, however, surrounds India; lib. vii. c. 16. In we learn how the ill-founded ideas another place, he asserts, that there concerning it, which were generalwas a communication between the ly adopted, gave rise to various Caspian and the Eastern ocean, lib. wild schemes of
conveying Indian v. c. 26. These errors appear more commodities to Europe by means of extraordinary, as a just description its supposed communication with had been given of the Caspian by He- the Euxine sea, or with the northern rodotus, near five hundred years be- ocean. It is an additional proof of fore the age of Strabo. “The Caspi- the attention of Alexander the an,” sayshe," is a sea by itself, un. Great, to every thing conducive to connected with any other. Its the improvement of commerce, that
. length is as much as a vessel with a short time before his death, he oars can sail in fifteen days; its gave directions to fit out a squadron
' greatest breadth
as much as it can sail in the Caspian, in order to survey in eight days;" lib. i. c. 203. A. that sea, and to discover whether it ristotle describes it in the same man- was connected either with the ner, and, with his usual precision, Euxine or Indian ocean; Arrian. contends, that it ought to be called a lib. vii. c. 16. greatlake, not a sea; Meteorolog. lib. ii. Diodorus Siculus concurs with them in opinion, vol. ii. lib. Proofs of the high and early civilizaxviii. p. 261. None of those au- tion of the people of India; from thors determine whether the greatest length of the Caspian was from north to south, or from east to west. FROM the most ancient accounts In the ancient maps, which illus- of India we learn, that the distrate the geography of Ptolemy, it tinction of ranks and separation of is delineated, as if its greatest professions were completely etalength extended from east to west. blished there. This is one of the In modern times, the first informa- most undoubted proofs of a society tion, concerning the true form of the considerably advanced in its proCaspian, which the peopleof Europe gress. Arts in the early stages of
social life are so few, and so simple, composed of husbandmen and mer: that each man is sufficiently master chants; and the fourth of artisans, of them all, to gratify every demand labourers, and servants. None of of his own limited desires. A savage these can ever quit his own cast, or can form his bow, point his arrows, be admitted into another.t The rear his hut, and hollow his canoe, station of every individual is unaltewithout calling in the aid of any rably fixed; bis destiny is irrevoca. hand more skilful than his own. and the walk of life is marked But when time has augmented the out, from which he must never dewants of men, the productions of viate. This line of separation is not art become so complicated in their only established by civil authority, structure, or so curious in their but confirmed and sanctioned by fabric, that a particular course of religion; and each order or cast is education is requisite towards for- said to have proceeded from the Di. ming the artist to ingenuity in con- vinity in such a different manner, trivance and expertness in execu- that to mingle and confound them tion. In proportion as refinement would be deemed an act of most spreads, the distinction of profes- daring impiety. Nor is it between sions increases, and they branch the four different tribes alone that out into more numerous and minute such insuperable barriers are fixed; subdivisions. Prior to the records the members of each cast adhere inof authentic history, and even before variably to the profession of their the most remote æra to which their forefathers. From generation to own traditions pretend to reach, this generation, the same families have separation of professions had not followed, and will always continue only taken place among the natives to follow, one uniform line of life. of India, but the perpetuity of it was Such arbitrary arrangements of secured by an institution which must the various members which compose be considered as the fundamental a community, seems, at first view, article in the system of their policy. to be adverse to improvement either The whole body of the people was
in science or in arts ; and by formdivided into four orders or casts. ing around the different orders of The members of the first, deemed men artificial barriers, which it the most sacred, had it for their pro- would be impious to pass, tends to vince, to study the principles of re- circumscribe the operations of the ligion; to perform its functions; and human mind within a narrower to cultivate the sciences. They were sphere than nature has allotted to the priests, the instructors, and phi- them. When every man is at full losophers, of the nation. The mem- liberty to direct his efforts towards bers of the second order were en- those objects, and that end which trusted with the government and the impulse of his own mind defence of the state. In peace they prompts him to prefer, he were its rulers and magistrates, in expected to attain that high degree war they were the soldiers who of eminence to which the unconfought its battles. The third was trolled exertion of genius and in
* Hist. of Amer. vol. jii. 165.
+ Ayeen Akbery, iii. 81, &c. Sketches relating to the History, &c. of the Hindoos, p. 107, &c. Vol. XXXIII.
dustry naturally conduct. The re- sure, that which he must congulations of Indian policy, with re- tinue through life to do. To this spect to the different orders of men, may be ascribed that high degree must necessarily, at some times, of perfection conspicuous in many check genius in its career, and con. of the Indian manufactures ; and fine to the functions of an inferior though veneration for the practices cast, talents fitted to shine in a of their ancestors may check the higher sphere. But the arrange- spirit of invention, yet, by adments of civil government are made, hering to these, they acquire such not for what is extraordinary, but an expertness and delicacy of hand, for what is common; not for the that Europeans, with all the adfew but for the many. The object vantages of superior science, and of the first Indian legislators was to the aid of more complete instruemploy the most effectual means of ments, have never been able to providing for the subsistence, the equal the exquisite execution of security, and happiness, of all the their workmanship. While this members of the community over high improvement of their more cuwhich they presided. With this rious manufactures excited the adview they set apart certain races of miration, and attracted the commen for each of the various profes- merce, of other nations, the separasions and arts nece
cessary in a well- tion of professions in India, and ordered society, and appointed the the early distribution of the people exercise of them to be transmitted into classes, attached to particular from father to son in succession. kinds of labour, secured such abunThis system, though extremely re- dance of the more common and usepugnant to the ideas which we, by ful commodities, as not only supbeing placed in a very different plied their own wants, but minis
state of society, have formed, will tered to those of the countries • be found, upon attentive inspection, around them. better adapted to attain the end in. To this early division of the peoview, than a careless observer is, on ple into casts, we must likewise ase. a first view, apt to imagine. The hu. cribe a striking peculiarity in the man mind bends to the law of neces- state of India; the permanence of its sity, and is accustomed, not only to institutions, and the immutability in accommodate itself to the restraints the manners of its inhabitants. What which the condition of its nature, now is in India, always was there, or the institutions of its country, and is likely still to continue :neither impose, but to acquiesce in them. the ferocious violence and illiberal From his entrance into life, an In- fanaticism of its Mahomedan condian knows the station allotted to
querors, nor the power of its Euro. him, and the functions to which pean masters, have effected any he is destined by his birth. The considerable alteration. The same objects which relate to these are distinctions of condition take place, the first that present themselves to the same arrangements in civil and his view. They occupy his thoughts, domestic society remain, the same or employ his hands; and from his maxims of religion are held in veearliest
years, he is trained to the neration, and the same sciences habit of doing, with ease and plea- and arts are cultivated. Hence, in
all ages, the trade with India has wildly extravagant, as not to merit been the same; gold and silver have any serious discussion. We must rest uniformly been carried thither in satisfied, then, until some more order to purchase the same commo- certain information is obtained with dities with which it now supplies respect to the ancient history of Inall nations; and from the age of dia, with taking the first accounts Pliny to the present times, it has of that country, which can be deembeen always considered and exe- ed authentic, from the Greeks, who crated as a gulph which swallows served under Alexander the Great. up the wealth of every other coun- They found kingdoms of considertry, that flows incessantly towards able magnitude established in that it, and from which it never returns. country. The territories of Porus According to the accounts which I and of Taxiles comprehended a have given of the cargoes anciently great part of the Panjab, one of the imported from India, they appear most fertile and best cultivated to have consisted of nearly the same countries in India. The kingdom articles with those of the investe of the Prasij, or Gandaridæ, stretchments in our own times; and what- ed to a great extent on both sides ever difference we may observe in of the Ganges. All the three, as them seems to have arisen, not so appears from the ancient Greek much from any diversity in the na- writers, were powerful and poputure of the commodities which the lous. Indians prepared for sale, as from a This description of the partition variety in the tastes, or in the of India into states of such magniwants, of the nations which de. tude, is alone a convincing proof of manded them.
its having advanced far in civilizaAnother proof of the early and tion. In whatever region of the high civilization of the people of earth there has been an opportunity India, may be deduced from consi- of observing the progress of men in dering their political constitution social life, they appear at first in and form of government. The small independent tribes or commuIndians trace back the history of nities. Their common wants prompt their own country through an im- them to unite; and their mutual mense succession of ages, and assert, jealousies, as well as the necessity that all Asia, from the mouth of the ofsecuring subsistence, compel them Indus on the west, to the confines to drive to a distance every rival of China on the east, and from the who might encroach on those domountains of hibet on the north, mains which they consider as their to Cape Comorin on the south, own. Many ages elapse before formed a vast empire, subject to one they coalesce, or acquire sufficient mighty sovereign, under whom ruled foresight to provide for the wants, several hereditary princes and rajahs. or sufficient wisdom to conduct the But their chronology, which mea. affairs of a numerous society. Even sures the ļife of man in ancient times under the
genial climate, and in the by thousands of years, and computes rich soil of India, more favourable the length of the several periods, perhaps to the union and increase during which it supposes the world of the human species than any other to have existed, by millions, is so part of the globe, the formation of
B b 2
such extensive states, as were esta- they would deem it degradation blished in that country when first and pollution, if they were to eat visited by Europeans, must have of the same food with their sovebeen a work of long time ; and the reign." Their persons are sacred, members of them must have been and even for the most heinous crimes long accustomed to exertions of use they cannot be capitally punished; ful industry.
their blood must never be shed.t To Though monarchical government men in this exalted station monarchs was established in all the countries must look up with respect, and reof India to which the knowledge of verence them as the ministers of rethe ancients extended, the sove- ligion, and the teachers of wisdom. reigns were far from possessing un- On important occasions, it is the controlled or despotic power. No duty of sovereigns to consult them, trace, indeed, is discovered there and to be directed by their advice. of any assembly or public body, the Their admonitions, and even their members of which, either in their censures, must be received with own right, or as representatives of submissive respect. This right of their fellow-citizens, could inter- the Brahmins, to offer their opinion pose in enacting laws or in super. with respect to the administration of intending the execution of them. public affairs, was not unknown to Institutions destined to assert and the ancients;and in some account guard the rights belonging to men preserved in India of the events in a social state, how familiar soever which happened in their own counthe idea may be to the people of try, princes are mentioned, who, Europe, never formed a part of the having violated the privileges of the political constitution in any great casts, and disregarded the remonAsiatic kingdom. It was to differ- strances of the Brahmins, were deent principles that the natives of posed by their authority, and put to India were indebted for restrictions death. which limited the exercise of regal While the sacred rights of the power. The rank of individuals Brahmins opposed a barrier against was unalterably fixed, and the pri- the encroachments of regal power vileges of the different casts were onthe one hand, it was circumscribed deemed inviolable. The monarchs on the other by the ideas which of India, who are all taken from the those who occupied the highest second of the four classes formerly stations in society entertained of described, which is intrusted with their own dignity and privileges. the functions of government and ex- As none but the members of the ercise of war, behold among their cast next in rank to that which resubjects an order of men far superior ligion has rendered sacred, could be to themselves in dignity, and so con- employed in any function of the scious of their own pre-eminence, state, the sovereigns of the extenboth in rank and in sanctity, that sive kingdoms anciently established
* Orme's Dissert. vol. i. p. 4 Sketches, &c. p. 113.
Strabo, lib. 15.p. 1029.C.
Account of the qualities requisite in a magistrate, prefixed by the Pundits to the Code of Gentoo Laws, p. 102. and 116.