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herirted sixteen degrees of longitude, extending from Meshhed to Delhi, the breadth being nine hundred .11,il ten miles from the Oxus to the Persian gulf. It is now contracted in its dimensions, and the king of Caubul may be said, in a vague sense, to hold .1 doubtful and precarious sway over the countries extending ■« from the west of Heraut, in longitude 62° to the eastern 'boundary of Cashmeer, in longitude 77° east.' It does not appear that its nominal extent in latitude has undergone any material change. This territory,
'according to the nomenclature of our latest maps,* comprehends Afghanistan and Segistaun, with part of Khorasan and Makran ; .with Balk, with Tokarestaun, and Kilan, Caubul, Kuttore, Kandahar, Sindy, and Cashmeer; together with a portion of Lahore, and the greater part of Moultan'
Mr. i'.ljih ustone seems to think fourteen millions a low estimate for the general population; and it does indeed appear, from the various circumstances arising from the extent, features, and characters of the country, that it should be taken higher. In his geographical delineations, Mr. E. takes so wide a range, that, how interesting soever such an excursion might be, it is quite impracticable to follow him. The general aspect of the country is mountainous; the lofty range of HindooCoosh forms its northern frontier, and the triple chain of Ssolitnaun stands within its eastern boundary. West of this range the whole country 'is a table Land, lying higher than most of the neighbouring 'countries.' The height of one of the summits of Hindoo Coosh, was estimated by Lieut. Macartney at 20,193 feet. The climate of such a country as this, extending from^he region of perpetual congelation, down to the deep, rich, well-watered valley and the fertile plain situated under the influence of an eastern sun, must include every possible variety of temperature. The Monsoon reaches part of the country. „
•• When we entered Peshawer in March,' says Mr. Elphinstooe, 'the upper parts of the mountains around, were covered with snow, while the plain was clothed with the richest verdure, and the climate was delicious. Most of the trees were then bare, but enough were in leaf to give richness and variety to the prospect; and in the course of
* Mr. E. here refers to Arrowsmith's map of Asia, 1801, probably one of the most complete specimens of what a general map ought to be, that has ever been produced; but we advert to r E.'s reference, principally for the purpose of hinting to Mr. Arrowsmith, whose high merits we can duly appreciate, the necessity of greater correctness in the orthography of names. His otherwise excellent map of Syria, lately published, is miserably disfigured by errors of this natu#e. ■ '."
a fortnight the numerous gardens and scattered trees were covered with new foliage, which had a freshness and brilliancy never seen in the perpetual summer of India. Many streams run through-the plain. Their banks were fringed with willow and tamarisk. The orchards scattered over the country, contained a profusion of plum, peach, apple, pear, quince, and pomegranate trees, which afforded a greater display of blossom than i ever before witnessed; and the uncultivated parts of the land were covered with a thick elastic sod, that perhaps never was equalled but in England. The greater part of the plain was highly cultivated, and irrigated by many watercourses •and canals. Never was a spot of the same extent better peopled. From one height, Lieut. Macartney took the bearings of thirty-two villages, all within a circuit of four miles. The villages were generally large, and remarkably clean and neat, and almost all set off with trees. There were little bridges of masonry over the streams, each of which had two small towers for ornament at each end.' -■■>■";
• 4/2 The character and manners of the Afghauns are very various,; and it would be a very difficult task to reduce to specific particulars, the general habits of so many tribes differing in origin and municipal regulations, and yet collected under one general government. The following remarks are very striking and comprehensive; and though they are rather long, we cannot, perhaps, do better than quote them, as exhibiting the best possible representation of this peculiar race of people.
* If a man could be transported from England to the Afghan country, without passing through the dominion of Turkey, Persia, or Tartary, he would be amazed at the wide and unfrequented desert-. and the mountains covered with perennial snow. Even in the cultivated part of the country, he would discover a wild assemblage of hills and wastes, unmarked by enclosures, not embellished by trees, and destitute of navigable canals, public roads, and all the great and elaborate productions of human industry and refinement. He would find the towns few, and far distant from each other; and he would look in vain for inns or other conveniences, which a traveller would meet with in the wildest parts of Great Britain. Yet he would sometimes be delighted with the fertility and populousness of particular plains and valleys, where he would see the productions of Europe, mingled in profusion with those of the torrid zone; and the land laboured with an industry and a judgment nowhere surpassed. He would see the inhabitants following their flocks in tents, or assembled in villages, to which the terraced roofs and mud walls give an appearance entirely new. He would be struck at first with their high and even harsh features; their sun-burned countenances, their long beards, their loose garments, and their shaggy mantles of skins. When he entered.int^Q the society, he would notice the absence of regular courts of justice! arid of everything like an organized police. He would be surprized at the fluctuation and instability of the civil institutions. He would find it difficult to comprehend how a nation could subsist in such disorder; and would pity those who were compelled to pass taeu^dajf*.in. such
a. sent, and whose minds were trained by their unhappy situation to fraud and violence, to rapine, deceit, and revenge. Yet he would scarce fail to admire their martial and lofty spirit, their hospitality, and their bold and simple manners, equally removed from the suppleness of a citizen, and the awkward rusticity of a clown ; and he would probably, before long, discover, among so many qualities that excited his disgust, the rudiments of many virtues.
4 But an English traveller from India, would view them with a more favourable eye. He would be pleased with the cold climate, elevated by the mild and novel scenery, and delighted by meeting many of the productions of his native land. He would first be struck with the thinness of the fixed population, and then with the appearance of the people; not fluttering in white muslins, while half their bodies are naked, but soberly and decently attired in dark coloured woollen clothes; and wrapt up in brown mantles, or in large sheepskin cloaks. He would admire their strong and active forms, their fair complexions and European features; their industry and enterprize ; the hospitality, sobriety, and contempt of pleasure, which appear in all their habits; and above all, the independence and energy of their character. In India, he would have left a country where every movement originates in the government or its agents, and where the people absolutely go for nothing; and he would find himself among a nation where the controul of the government is scarcely felt, and where every man appears to pursue his own inclinations undirected and unrestrained. Amidst the stormy independence of this mode of life, he would regret the ease and security in which the state of India, and even the indolence and timidity of its inhabitants, enable most parts of that country to repose. He would meet with many productions of art and nature that do not exist in India; but, in general, he would find the arts of life less advanced, and many of the luxuries of Hindostan unknown. On the whole, his impression of his new acquaintances would be favourable; although he would feel, that without having lost the ruggedness of a barbarous nation, they were tainted with the vices common to all Asiatics. Yet he would reckon them virtuous, compared with the people to whom he had been accustomed; would be inclined to regard them with interets and kindness, and could scarcely deny them a portion of his esteem.'
We could point out some inconsistencies in this statement, and Mr. E. himself admits that it requires a little correction; but, on the whole, it gives a fair and striking portraiture of the subjects, if subjects they may be called who seem to own no subjectfon, of the Afghaun monarchy.
Many of our readers will be aware that an opinion has very extensively prevailed, which derives the origin of this nation from the Jews, and that it has been sanctioned by the authority of Sir William Jones. The nations of Afguaunistan themselves
• maintain that they are descended from Afghaun, the son of Irmia, or Berkia, son of Saul, king of Israel, and all the histories of their nation begin with relating the transactions of the Jews from Abraham down to the captivity. Their narrative of those transactions appears to agree with that of the other Mahomedans; and though interspersed with some wild fables, does not essentially differ from Scripture. A fur the captivity, they allege that part of the children of Afgliaun •withdrew to the mountains of Chore, and part to the neighbourhood of Mecca in Arabia.'
Mr. Elphinstone allows that this 'account is by no means 'destitute of probability;' that 'the theory is plausible and 'may be true;' and yet he almost immediately speaks of it as 'domic.I with contradictions;' and finishes by classing it with the Milesian origin of the Irish. Nothing is more easy than to find out discrepancies and inconsistencies in accounts of the remote origin of nations; and it is very clear to all who have noted the Scripture genealogies, that this son and grandson of Saul, are either imaginary beings, or real individuals under imaginary names, misplaced probably in the order of descent. This tradition would seem to explain some otherwise unaccountable peculiarities of this extraordinary people; and among others, that cast of feature, so much resembling the Jewish, which seems to have very forcibly struck Mr. E. It tends also to il-,lustrate two important facts in the Jewish history. The first, \sf the partial return of the Jews to their native country after the Captivity, and the entire disappearance of that majority of the race which remained in the land of their exile; connected with the peculiar tenacity with which the Jews have retained their national distinctions in other countries, and the improbability that they should have so entirely abandoned them in the east, as to lose all trace of their original. With some necessary qualifications, this Afghaun tradition, accounts sufficiently plausibly forthe lossof the Jewish, and the origin of the Afghaun tribes.
The second circumstance on which these traditions appear to throw light, is the fact that, in the time of Mahomet, there were great numbers of Jews resident in Arabia, and that a large division of them was distinguished by the name of Khyber. hi illustration of this, it may be remarked, that this is still the ' name of 'a district in Afghanistan,' if not of an Afghaun tribe; and that the Afghauns themselves assert that their nation, both in Ghore and Arabia, after having preserved the ancient faith till the coming of Mahomed, were converted by that last and greatest of the prophets, and that the Afghauns of Ghore marched to his assistance under the command of Kyse. Mr. E. attempts to weaken the force of this evidence, by remarking, that some of the Afghaun historians derive the whole nation from this very Kyse. This chronological error might, however, seeth to be rather in confirmation of the original tradition, as Kyse is evidently no other tiiuii Kisli the father of Saul.
The internal divisions ami regulations of the Afghauns, are too complicated for abridgement. The term Oolooss seems applicable both to the greater tribes and those smaller communities into which they are divided. The chief of the Oolooss has the title of Khaun, which in some instances is merelytitular, the real authority being retained by the people. These chiefs preside in the Jeerga, or assembly of the ' heads of divisions;' a council which varies in its character and powers in different tribes.
* The general law of the kingdom is that of Mahomed, which is adopted in civil actions in the Ooloosses also; but their peculiar code, and the only one applied to their internal administration of criminal justice, is the Pooshtoonwullee. or usage of the Afghauns ; a rude system of customary law, founded on principles, such as one would suppose to have prevailed before the institution of civil government.'
This rude system gives a man the right of retaliation in all cases of personal injury, and when extended, which is rarely the case, to civil causes, maintains the same principle. All crimi-1nal causes come within the special jurisdiction of the Jeerga, which, on the whole, seems to be a wise and politic institution; and one that may probably lead to greater improvements, both in municipal and in national government. As a tribunal, it is said to be ' tolerably impartial;' in general conducted with great dccoruni; and, in some tribes, 'remarkable for order and gra* vity, and for a rude kind of eloquence, much admired by their
The remaining particulars scattered through this volume, respecting ihe manners of this people, we shall endeavour to compress into a small space. The Afghauns buy their wives The common age at which the men marry, is twenty; the women marry at fifteen. Polygamy is permitted to those whose means arc adequate to its support. 'The wives often gain a great aa'cendeiicy, and all the advantages given by the Mahomedan 'law, re not always sufficient to prevent the husband's sinking 'into a secondary place in his own house.'
The education and literature of the Afghauns are of a very humble order: ' not a quarter can read their own language.' The better instructed among the lower people, read the Koran; those of ' decent fortune,' study the Persian classics, and the elements of Arabic. The Moollahs go beyond this, they complete ill"ir Arabic course, and then apply to logic, law, and theology: * Many push their researches into ethics, metaphysics, * and the system of physic known in the east, as well as history, 'poetry, and medicine, which last is a fashionable study far men
*of all professions.' The language is mixed with Persian and