Слике страница

him look like a fool. But a man who has du monde, seems not to understand what he cannot or ought not to resent. If he makes a flip himself, he recovers it by his coolness, instead of plunging deeper by his confusion, like a stumbling-horse. He is firm, but gentle; and practises that most excellent maxim, fuaviter in modo, fortiter in re. The other is the volto sciolto e pensieri Rretti. People, unused to the world, have babbling countenances ; and are unskilful enough to show, what they have sense enough not to tell. In the course of the world, a man must very often put on an easy, frank countenance, upon very disagreeable occasions ; he muft seem pleased, when he is very much otherwise ; he must be able to accost and receive with smiles, those whom he would much rather meet with swords. In courts he must not turn himself inside out. All this may, nay muit be done, without falsehood and treachery: for it must go no farther than politeness and manners, and must stop short of assurances and profesions of simulated friendship. Good manners, to those one does not love, are no more a breach of truth, than your humble servant at the bottom of a challenge is ; they are universally agreed upon and understood, to be things of course. They are necessary guards of the decency, and peace of society: they must only act defensively; and then not with arms poisoned by perfidy. Truth, but not the whole truth, must be the invariable principle of every man, who hath either religion, honour, or prudence. Those who violate it, may be cunning, but they are not able. Lies and perfidy are the refuge of fools and cowards. Adieu !

In our last Review we gave Lord C.'s letter in recommenda. tion of Lord Bolingbroke's works. As some of our Readers may not be sufficiently attentive to the date of that letter, or may not know in what year that noble Author's posthumous works appeared, it is but justice to the memory of Lord Chelterfield, to give here a transcript of a note which we meet with, referring to a passage in a letter dated 1752, wherein his Jord. ship recommends Lord B.'s Letters on the study and use of history, viz.

"We cannot but observe with pleasure, that at this time Lord Bolingbroke's Philosophical works had not appeared ; which accounts for Lord Chesterfield's recommending to his son, in this as well as in some foregoing passages, the Itudy of Lord Bolingbroke's writings.'

We propose to finish our Review of Lord Chesterfield's Letters in a subsequent article.

Art, VI. A new System, or, an Analysis of ancient Mythology:

Wherein an Attempt is made to divest Tradition of Fable; and to reduce Truth to its original Purity. In this work is given an History of the Babylonians, Chaldeans, Egyptians, Canaanites, Helladians, Ionians, Leleges, Dorians, Pelasgi : also of the Seythæ, Indoscythæ, Ethiopians, Phenicians. The whole contains

an Account of the principal Events in the first Ages, from the De· luge to the Dispersion : Also of the various Migrations, which en


[ocr errors]

sued, and the Settlements made afterwards in different Parts: Cir. cumitances of great Consequence, which were subsequent to the Gentile History of Mofes. By Jacob Bryans, formerly of King's College, Cambridge; and Secretary to his Grace the late Duke of Marlborough, during his Command abroad ; and Secretary to him as Maiter General of his Majesty's Ordnance. Vols. I and II.

2 l. 45. Boards. Payne, &c. 1774. TU E have formerly had occasion to mention this * Author

VV with peculiar honour, as one of those men who, in our own day, are masters of the profoundeft erudition, and who do not come behind the most distinguished names of the last century, for their attention to every the minuteft circumstance that may be the means of elucidating the darkness of the earliest ages. The character we then gave of Mr. Bryant is still more strongly and copiously confirmed by the present work. The learning with which it abounds must, at once, excite the notice of the most cursory Reader. Nothing in the ancient Greek and Roman literature, however recondite, or wherever dispersed, seems to have escaped our Author's sagacious and diligent investigation.

But depth of erudition is far from being Mr. Bryant's role praise. The elaborare production before us is equally distin

guished for its ingenuity and novelty. In point of novelry, it het is, indeed, fingularly striking. It departs from the common

ly received systems, to a degree that has not yet been attempted,
or thought of, by any men of learning; and even those who
may entertain the greatest doubts, concerning the truth and
solidity of some things which are here advanced, will be ready
to allow that several parts of the Author's scheme are highly pro-
bable, and that other parts of it have a very plausible appearance. :

His hypothesis is, therefore, undoubtedly deserving of an attene tive examination. a lt must, at the same time, be acknowledged, that the suba jeet undertaken by Mr. Bryant is uncommonly difficult. It is is one of the most abstruse and intricate subjects which antiquity

presents to us; and it lies so open to conjecture, that it must necessarily be involved in no smail degree of uncertainty. The information concerning it, must be collected from a vast number of incidental passages, observations, and allertions scattered through ancient Authors, who were themselves imperfectly acquainted with what they wrote about, and whom it is almost impossible to reconcile.

Perhaps the greatest light that can be thrown upon some Best of the enquiries Mr. Bryant is engaged in, is that which is

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* See our account of his Observations and Enquiries relating to various parts of ancient Hifory, in the 37th vol. of the Review.

P. 346,

[blocks in formation]

afforded by Etymology. The method of proceeding by Etymology is, indeed, not a little hazardous. The ableft men have frequently failed in the application of it, and persons of weak judgment have rendered it the source of the most abfurd and groundless fancies. Hence some have been induced wholly to disregard it, and have even treated it with the utmost contempt. But this has arisen from the want of a proper acquaintance with the subject. Those who have such a knowledge of the oriental tongues, as to be capable of tracing them through the Greek, and Latin, and other languages, and who have ato tended to the names of things, which, in almost every country, carry the marks of being derived from the East, must be rena sible that a judicious use of the science of Etymology greatly tends to the elucidation of antiquity, and that it often leads to very important discoveries. The service which has been rendered to Mr. Bryant by this science, is apparent in every part of his work,

Notwithstanding the difficulties attending our Author's design, and the uncertainty his subject might be expected to be involved in, even after the best use that could be made of Ety. mology, and the scattered passages of ancient writers ; fuch are the fagacity and diligence with which he has applied these helps, that he is firmly persuaded of his having been fuccessful in clearing up the history of the remotest ages, and in throw. ing light upon objects which have hitherto been surrounded with darkness and error. Indeed, his scheme is so great, and the discoveries he proposes to make are so extraordinary, that we shall be excusable in Jaying the contents of his preface domewhat at large before our readers; that by this means thes may have a more complete view of his intention, and be the better enabled to judge hereafter of the feveral steps by which he has conducted his undertaking.

• It is my purpose, fays Mr. Bryant, in the ensuing work, to give an account of the first ages; and of the great events, which happened in the infancy of the world. In confequence of this, I shall lay before the reader what the Gentile writers have said upon this subject, collaterally with the accounts given by Moses, as long as I find him engaged in the general history of mankind. By these means I shall be able to bring surprizing proofs of those great occurrences, which the sacred penman has recorded. And when his history becomes more li. mited, and is confined to a peculiar people, and a private dispensation; I shall proceed to shew, what was subsequent to his account after the migration of families, and the dispersion from the plains of Shinar.

Our Author aflerts, that when mankind were multipliei upon the earth, eaca great family had by div'ne appointment a


[ocr errors]

particular place of destination, to which they retired ; and in confirmation of this assertion, he refers to the testimony of Eufebius, which is too late a testimony to be considered as deci. five. However, though we may not be so fully assured, as Mr. Bryant seems to be, that in this manner the first nacions were constituted, and kingdoms founded, we entirely agree with him, that great changes were foon effected, and that colonies went abroad without any regard to their original place of al. lotment. New eftablishments were foon made ; from whence ensued a mixture of people and languages. These are events of the higheft confequence : of which we can receive no intel. ligence, but through the hands of the Gentile writers.'

It has been observedy continues our ingenious Author, by many of the learned, thar some particular family betook themselves very early to different parts of the world; in all which they introduced their rites and religion, together with the cuftoms of their country. They reprefent them as very knowing and enterprizing; and with good reason. They were the first, who ventured upon the seas, and undertook long voyages. They fhewed their superiority and address in the numberless expeditions which they made, and the difficulties which they furmounted. Many have thought that they were colonies from Egypt, or from Phenicia; having a regard only to the settle. ments which they made in the West. But I shall thew hereafter, that colonies of the same people are to be found in the most extream parts of the East : where we may observe the same rices and ceremonies, and the same traditional histories, as are to be met with in their other settlements. The country called Phenicia, could not have sufficed for the effecting all that is attributed to these mighty adventurers. It is necessary for me co acquaint the reader, that the wonderful people, to whom I allude, were the descendants of Chus; and called Cuthites, and Cureans. They stood their ground at the general migration of families; but were at last' [catiered over the face of the earth.

They were the first apostates from the truth; yet great in? worldly wisdom. They introduced, wherever they came, many useful arts; and were looked up to: as a superior order of beings : hence they were stiledi heroes, dæmons, heliadæ, macarians. They were joined in their expeditions by other nations ; especially by the collateral branches of their family, the Miz. raim, Caphtorim, and the sons of Canaan. These were all of the line of Ham, who was held by his pofterity in the highest veneration. They called him Amon: and having in process of time raised him to a divinity, they worshipped him as the fun : and from this worship they were stiled: Amonians. This is an appellation which will continually occur in the course of this work: and I am authorized in the use of it from Plutarch ; Hh 3


from whom we may infer that it was not uncommon among the fons of Ham.'

Mr. Bryant informs us, that he should be glad to give the reader a still farther insight into the system he is about to pursue, • But such, says he, is the scope of my inquiries, and the purport of my determinations, as may possibly create in him some prejudice to my design: all which would be obviated, were he to be carried step by Itep to the general view, and be made partially acquainted, according as the scene opened. What I have to exhibit, is in great measure new: and I shall be obliged to run counter to many received opinions, which length of time, and general alient, have in a manner rendered sacred. What is truly alarming, I fhall be found to differ not only from some few historians, as is the cale in common controversy ; but in some degree from all: and this in respect to many of the most essential points, upon which historical precision has been thought to depend. My meaning is, that I must set aside many supposed facts, which have never been controverted; and dispute many events, wbich have not only been admitted as true ; but have been looked upon as certain æras, from whence other events were to be determined. All our knowledge of Gentile history muít either come through the hands of the Grecians; or of the Romans, who copied from them. I shall therefore give a full account of the Helladian Greeks, as well any of the Tönim, or lonians, in Asia: also of the Dorians, Leleges, and Pelasgi. What may appear very presumptuous, I fall deduce from their own histories many truths, with which they were totally unacquainted; and give to them an original, whitrehey certainly did not know. They have bequeathed to us noble materials, of which it is time to make a serious use. It was theit misfortune not to know the value of the data, which they transmitted, nor the purport of their own intelligence,' .

Qus learned Author goes on to acquaint us, that it will be one part of his labour to treat of the Phenicians, whose history has been much mistaken; and also of the Scythians, whose original boas been hitherto a secret: and he hopes that many good confequences will ensue from such an elucidacion. He intends to say a great deal about the Ethiopians, the Indi, and the Indo-Scythæ grand to exhibit an account of the Cimmerian, Hyperborean, and Amazonian nations, as well as the people of Cholchis. · There is no writer, who has written at large of the Cyclopians. Yet their history is of great antiquity, and abounds with matter of consequence. He proposes, therefore, to treat of them very fully, and of the great works which they performed; and to subjoin an account of the Leftrigons, Lamii, a Sirens.

« ПретходнаНастави »