Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

will be that of Gold-no Golden-Age having yet existed, except in the imagination of poets.

But to avoid being misunderstood, it is neceffary to premife, that the different ftates of mankind do not depend upon A. M. or A. U. C. or A. D.-for, in the first year of our æra, Italy was refined, and England barbarous; and in the eighteenth century, fome nations have attained a point of perfection unknown to all which have preceded, while others are still unenlightened and ignorant. It is not then from the age of the world, but from the age of fociety, that the dates in this effay are computed.

All works, whether of art or literature, long fince produced, are ancient, as far as time only is concerned. But if we mean to distinguish between elegant and barbarous antiquity, it is neceffary to confider in what state of society the works B 2

were

were produced. The want of this diftinction has been of great differvice to the polite arts, and given a false direction to a good principle. At the revival of the arts in Italy, architects, painters, and sculptors ftudied the remains of ancient Rome as fpecimens of their art carried in an enlightened age to the height of perfection. The Roman Antiquities then are valuable, because they are the productions of artists who poffeffed all the knowledge of an advanced state of fociety; but the Saxon and Gothic Antiquities, tho' justly objects of curiosity, and even of admiration, are still the remains of fociety in its infancy, and therefore barbarous and falfe.

Nothing is more common than finding in nations widely feparated, a resemblance of manners and cuftoms;* from

whence

"Meet Highlanders near Montauban like

thofe in Scotland."

YOUNG.

;

whence it is concluded, that they formerly have had fome connection, and that one has borrowed from the other as the Egyptians from the Chinese, or the reverse; nay, the English from the Eaft Indians.* The custom of marking the skin in figures was as much practised by our ancestors in Britain, as by the modern inhabitants of Otaheitee:† and Robert

* "From Tartary the Hindoo Religion probably fpread over the whole earth; there are figns of it in every northern country, and in almost every fyftem of worship: in England it is obvious; Stonehenge is evidently one of the Temples of Boodh; and the arithmetic, the aftronomy, the holidays, games, &c. ancient monuments, laws, and even languages of the different nations, have the strongest marks of the fame original. The worship of the fun and fire; human and animal facrifices, &c. have apparently once been univerfal." ASIATIC RESEARCHES.

To which may be added, the North-American Indians, of whom Bartram fays, "their head, neck, and breast are painted with vermillion (colour) and fome of the warriors have the fkin of the breast, and mufcular parts of the body very curiously

B 3

[ocr errors]

Robert Drury's account of the practice of ftealing cattle in Madagascar, differs in no circumstance from the Journal of a Focray, headed by Sir T. Carleton; as given in the Introduction to the Survey of the Lakes in the North of England.

It has puzzled historians to account for this connection, which in most instances is difficult, and in many, impoffible. By adopting the idea, which it is partly the intention of this effay to establish, that man, in the same stage of fociety, is every where much alike;* and that ig

norance

curiously inscribed, or adorned with hieroglyphick fcrolls, flowers, figures of animals, &c. they prick the skin with a needle, and rubbing in a blueish tint it lafts for life."

*"The Egyptian, Hindoo, Moorish, and Gothic Architecture, inftead of being copies of each other, are actually the fame-the spontaneous produce of genius in different countries, the neceffary effects of fimilar neceffity and materials." HODGES.

The

norance of the arts, or knowledge of them, marks the character of ancient and modern states of nations-the difficulty vanishes.

A great resemblance mav be obferved between fome characters and adventures in the Arabian Tales, and fome in the

old

The following quotation is of more modern application." It is highly probable that many ceorls and burgeffes, who dwelt in or near the place where a wittenagemot was held, attended as interested fpectators, and intimated their fatisfaction with its refolves by fhouts of applaufe-omnique populo audiente et vidente aliorumque fidelium infinita multitudo qui omnes laudaverunt."

HARDY.

This is a juft picture of the National Convention of France, and evidently fhews, that by reverting to first principles, they have also reverted to barbarifm.

The Mufcogulges (a favage nation in NorthAmerica) have the game of hurling, so very like that of Cornwall, that the defcription of one would ferve for the other.

B4

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »