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what must have been the fituation of Russia during the space of fixteen years, governed as it was by four Sovereigns, who either found themselves unsettled on the Throne, or acceded to it in consequence of fome revolution. I
• It is not in times of such uncertainty that men of abilities will apply themselves to any important work, while they are to depend for the sole reward of their merit and their labours on the gratitude of the Prince. The Members of the Commission, which still subfifted, thought it fufficient, on their parts, to order the Secretaries to continue their business. But as these subalterns knew nothing but the common run of business, were neither killed in the laws, nor had Audied their constitution, their labours were unlikely to produce any valuable effect.
i The peaceable revolution which brought Elizabeth to the Throne of her father restored the hopes of the people, when, in the year 1754, a new Commission for the purpose of forming a new Code was established, composed of men who had attended the different Courts of Justice, it was not to be wondered that the Commission presented a plan to the Senate which promised to be perfect in its kind. The abolition of capital punishments alone is sufficient to characterise the humanity that would have distinguished the work of this new Legis. latress. During the whole of her glorious reign, however unfavour. able to the business of rectifying the laws the part which Rullia took in the troubles of Germany might be thought, there were still the fairest hopes of bringing the work to perfection. The three first parts, it is said, were finished by the Commissioners, and approved by the Senate, when the death of the Sovereign, before she had confirmed them, gave the scepter to Peter III. Grandson of the Founder of Ruflia.
No sooner was he declared Sovereign than he trod professedly in the steps of his grandfather. He not only invited foreigners to settle in his dominions, but, the inore strongly to induce them, he abrogated a law which, when once they had entered, forbad them to return. He did more. He permitted his own Nobility to visit foreign countries in order to cultivate their understanding and manners. To give these new regulations all the extent his predecessors had been desirous of, he proposed to form a new Code, and took for his model that of Frederic King of Pruffia, which he caused to be translated into the Russian language, chat, combining with the customary regulations of the Empire, a body of just and permanent laws might be the result.
. Seeing, and lamenting the ignorance under which. his subjects groaned, in concert with the Archbishop of Novogorod he founded public schools; and, to introduce order into the military, he gave uniforms to the troops, and caused the regiments to be called after the name of their Colonels.
• Such were the alterations that Peter III. made, during a reign of six or seven months, at the end of which a revolution placed his wife on the Throne. On the cwenty-eighth of June, 1762, the Ruflians thought proper to dethrone a Monarch, to whom, a few months before, they had thought of erecting statues, APP. Rev. Vol. l.
• It enters not into my design to inquire by what secret measures Providence placed Catharine II. on the throne of all the Rullias. I consider only the advantages which the empire may have derived from its sovereigns, without dwelling upon the evils attendant og its revolutions.'
Such is the Chevalier D'Eon's account of the progressive state of the laws in Ruffia ; the more curious, as whatever relates to the conduct or memory of Peter the First, the greatest Prince of modern times at least, must be extremely interesting to every reader of sentiment. The sequel of the fifth volume, gives us a memoir on the commerce of Russia.
The sixth volume contains, amongst other subjects, the hifu tory of Eudoxia Fæderowna, first wife of Peter the Great. This article is too entertaining to be omitted, and too long to be inserted here; we therefore promise our Readers the substance of it in the next Appendix. At the same time we are fenfible that the attention we have already paid to this publication is sufficient to convince the Public, that the very ingenious Author has done honour both to himself and to the Republic of Letters.
ART. III. Fragments sur l'Inde, &C.-Fragments concerning India, General
Lally, and the Count de Morangies. 8vo. 28. 6d. Printed in
London, by Nourse. 1773 IN these detached pieces, which are said to be written by 1 Voltaire, we find incidental observations on the commerce and history of the Indies, with some topographical accounts of the coalls, and remarks on the military operations and fate of General Lally. From these we shall select two fhort articles, on the manners and customs of the Gentook and Bramins.
• Of those ancient Indians, whom we call Gentoos, there are in the Mogul's country, according to Mr. Scrafton's account, about a hundred millions. This multitude is a fatal proof that a great nomber may be fubdued by a small one. Yet these innumerable herds of pacific Gentoos, though they would give up their liberty to any hord of robbers, would never part with their religion and customs. They have fill retained their ancient worship of Brama. The reason of this, it has been said, is, that the Mahometans, content with being their mafters, never gave themselves any trouble about the dire&tion of their souls.
• Their four ancient orders ftill rabfilt in all the rigour of the law which feparates them one from another, and in all the force of fort prejudices fortified by time. The firft order is that of the Bramins, who once governed the empire ; the second that of the military ; the third of the husbandmen, and the fourth of the merchants. We da not include the Hallacores, or Parias, who do the menial offices; they are confidered as unclean ; they conûder themselves as such, and
would by no means presume to eat with a man of another tribe, nor even to touch or come near him. .'!..
• It is probable that the institution of these four classes was imi. tated by the Egyptians ; because it is, in fact, very probable, or rather certain, thac Egypt was but indifferently peopled, or policed, till long after India. It was a work of ages to subdue the Nile, to divide it into diftinct channels, and.construct buildings above its inundations; whilf India enjoyed, in the mean time, every thing that was necessary to the fubfiftence of life, i
"We find all the greatness and all the weakness of the human mind exhibited in the ancient Brachmans, and in the Bramins their successors. On one hand, the most obstinate virtue supported by the severest abstinence; a sublime though fantastic philosophy, under the veil of ingenious allegories ; an abhorrence of bloodshed, and an in. variable charity to mankind and the animal creation.-On the other hand, fuperftition, the most contemptible in its kind ; that calm but atrocious fanaticism which has caught them, through innumerable ages, to encourage the voluntary murder of so many young widows who have thrown them seves into the burning piles of their deceased husbands. This horrid extravagance of religion and magnanimity ftill fubfifts with that famous i maxim of the Bramin faith, that God requires nothing from us but charity and good works. But the whole world is governed by contradictions:
• Mr. Scrafton adds, They are persuaded, it is the pleasure of the Supreme Being that different nations should have different modes of worfhip. Such a persuasion might seem to promote indifference ; nevertheless they have as much enthusiasm in their religion, as if they thought it the only true one, the only one that had been instituted by the deity..
• The greater part of them live in a kind of effeminate apathy. Their great axiom, taken from their ancient books, is, that it is better to fit than to walk, to lie than to fit, to sleep than to wake, and to die than to live. Yet we see many of them on the coast of Coromandel, who rise out of this lethargy into a live life. Some of them take part with the French, others with the English. They learn their lán. guage, and serve them as interpreters and brokers. There is not a merchant of any consideration upon the coast who has not his Bramin.
They are in general faithful, but fly and cunning. Those who have had no commerce with strangers, preserve the ancient virtue and fimplicity of their ancestors..
• Mr. Scrafton and others have seen in the hands of some Bramins, ephemerides of their own composition, in which eclipses were calculated for many thousands of years. They have good mathematicians and astronomers; yet they retain the absurdities of astrology, and carry that extravagance as far as ihe Chinese and the Persians. At this, however, we have no reason to be surprised. It is not two centuries fince our own Princes had the same follies, and our aitronomers the same quackery. The Bramins, who possessed there epheme. rides, muít have been men of science at least. They are philoíophers and prieits, like the Brachmans of old. The people, they say, ought to be deceived and kept in ignorance. In consequence, they give out that the nodes of the moon, in which the eclipses happen, and
M m 2
which the first Brachmans expressed by the hieroglyphics of the head and tail of a dragon, are the actual efforts of a dragon who attacks the sun and the moon. The same Glly notion is adopted in China. In India, you see thousands of men and women plonging into che Ganges during the continuance of an eclipse, or making a prodigious noise with instruments of various kinds, to release the captive luminaries from the clutches of the dragon. Upon such principles as these the whole world has been governed, the Author adds] in cvery respect.
• Many Bramins have treated with missionaries concerning the interests of the India Companies ; but religion was never in the queltion. Yet many missionaries there have been who, the moment they arrived in India, were industrious in writing to their respective focieties, that the Bramins undoubtedly worshipped the devil, but that they would all shortly be converted to the faith. Nevertheless it is asserted, that no European monk ever once attempted to convert a Bramin, and that no Indian ever worshipped the devil, of whose existence they are wholly ignorant. The rigid Bramins have conceived an inexpressible aversion to the monks, on account of their obvious indulgence in the contents of the shambles and the cellar, and of their taking young girls upon their laps during confeflion. Our practices appeared to them to be crimes, though theirs have been confidered only as ridiculous idolatries.
• One of the most considerable millonary jesuits, whose name was Lalane, wrote in 1709, “ there is no doubt but the Bramins are real idolaters, because they are worshippers of strange gods." (Lettres Edifiantes, tom. x. p. 14.) And he says, p. 15. " the following is one of their prayers, which I have translated literally.
“ I worship that Being who is exposed to no inquietude, and subject to no change; that Being, who in his nature is indivisible, in his spiritual essence incapable of compounded qualities ; that Being who is the origin and the cause of existence, and who, in excellence, surpasses all that does exift; that Being who is the support of the uni. verse, and the source of power."
• This is what the missionary calls idolatry!
i Wha: is really astonishing is, chat we can neicber in the books of the ancient Bramins, nor in those of the Chinese, nor in the fragments of Sanconiathon, nor in those of Berosus, por in the Egyptian of Manethon, nor among the Greeks, nor the Tuscans, find the least trace of that sacred Jewish history which is our sacred hiftory. Not a single word of Noah, whom we look upon as the retores of the human race; not a word of Adam, the father of that race, nor of any of his firtt descendants. How came it to pass that all nations lost the names of this great family ; that no one has transmitted to pofterity a single action, a fingle name, of these his ancestors ? How came all the ancient world to be ignorant of this? And how came a little upitart generation alone to know it? This extraordinary circumstance might seem to merit attention, if one could poslibly come at the bottom of it. All India, China, Japan, Tar. tary, and three parts of Africa, have ever been ignorant of the existence of such men as Cain, Jared, and Methuselah, who, nevertheless, lived almost a thousand years. And other nations were unacquainted with their names till after the time of Constantine. But
those questions which arise in the department of philosophy, have nothing to do with history.
Nothing more easy than to refute this bagatelle, and to prove that those very nations have had their Adam and their Noah, whom the Author represents as ignorant of their exa istence. But we have no time to enter into controversies of this kind.
Since writing the above article, we have met witb an Englinh translation of this book, which appears to be sufficiently faithful and correct.
A R T. IV, L'Evangile Du Jour, The Gospel of the Day Vol. X*, London,
1773• W E RE it not owing to that wonderful zeal and attach
V ment which Mr. Valtaire professes for every thing that has the air of religion, this volume had never come by its Christian name ; for with as much propriety might it have been called the Gardener's Calendar, or the Complete Country Housewise, or a Dissertation on Clear-starching.-Palling the title, however, which, like the number affixed to the front of your house, serves only to diftinguich it from your neighbour's, the first article that presents itself is a new old tragedy, called The Laws of Minos. This, Mr. V- tells us, appeared in such a miserable trim, patched as it was, and stitched and taylored all over by a knave of a bookseller, that, in justice to himself, and in compaflion to his offspring, he thought proper to send it into the world in its present form.
The purport of the tragedy is to prove, that it is necessary to abolish laws when they are unjust; and the laws of Minos cnjoined human facrifices.
Ancient history (that is to say fable) informs us, that this great lawgiver, Minos, the son of Jupiter, on whom the divine Plato has lavilhed such high encomiums, certainly instituted such sacrifices
This wise legislator facrificed annually seven young Athenians ; at least so Virgil says,
In foribus Letbum Androgeo tum pendere Panas
Corpora natorum. These facrifices are rather uncommon with us now-a-days, and the reason, no doubt, is, that variety of opinions which the sage commentators have entertained respecting the exact number
• For our accounts of the former volumes, see Appendixes for several years palt.