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MR. IRVING'S APPENDIX – AND MERITS.

which could be brought to elucidate the transactions to which they relate.

Such is the general character of Mr. Irving's book and such are parts of its contents. We do not pretend to give any view whatever of the substance of four large historical volumes; and fear that the specimens we have ventured to exhibit of the author's way of writing are not very well calculated to do justice either to the occasional force, or the constant variety, of his style. But for judicious readers they will probably suffice — and, we trust, will be found not only to warrant the praise we have felt ourselves called on to bestow, but to induce many to gratify themselves by the perusal of the work at large.

Mr. Irving, we believe, was not in England when his work was printed: and we must say he has been very insufficiently represented by the corrector of the press. We do not recollect ever to have seen so handsome a book with so many gross typographical errors. In many places they obscure the sense—and are very frequently painful and offensive. It will be absolutely necessary that this be looked to in a new impression; and the author would do well to avail himself of the same opportunity, to correct some verbal inaccuracies, and to polish and improve some passages of slovenly writing.

MEMOIRS OF BABER.

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(JUNE, 1827.)

Memoirs of ZEHIR-ED-DIN MUHAMMED BABER, Emperor of Hin

dustan, written by himself, in the Jaghatai Turki, and translated, partly by the late John LEYDEN, Esq. M.D., partly by WILLIAM ERSKINE, Esq. With Notes and a Geographical and Historical Introduction : together with a Map of the Countries between the Oxus and Jaxartes, and a Memoir regarding its Construction, by CHARLES WADDINGTON, Esq., of the East India Company's Engineers. London: 1826.

This is a very curious, and admirably edited work. But the strongest impression which the perusal of it has left on our minds is the boundlessness of authentic history; and, if we might venture to say it, the uselessness of all history which does not relate to our own fraternity of nations, or even bear, in some way or other, on our own present or future condition.

We have here a distinct and faithful account of some hundreds of battles, sieges, and great military expeditions, and a character of a prodigious number of eminent individuals, — men famous in their day, over wide regions, for genius or fortune — poets, conquerors, martyrs — founders of cities and dynasties — authors of immortal works-ravagers of vast districts abounding in wealth and population. Of all these great personages and events, nobody in Europe, if we except a score or two of studious Orientalists, has ever heard before; and it would not, we imagine, be very easy to show that we are any better for hearing of them now. A few curious traits, that happen to be strikingly in contrast with our own manners and habits, may remain on the memory of a reflecting reader — with a general confused recollection of the dark and gorgeous phantasmagoria. But no one, we may fairly say, will think it worth while to digest or develope the details of the history; or be at the pains to become acquainted with the leading individuals, and fix

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SMALL INTEREST OF EXOTIC HISTORY.

in his memory the series and connexion of events. Yet the effusion of human blood was as copious — the display of talent and courage as imposing — the perversion of high moral qualities, and the waste of the means of enjoyment as unsparing, as in other long-past battles and intrigues and revolutions, over the details of which we still pore with the most unwearied attention; and to verify the dates or minute circumstances of which, is still regarded as a great exploit in historical research, and among the noblest employments of human learning and sagacity.

It is not perhaps very easy to account for the eagerness with which we still follow the fortunes of Miltiades, Alexander, or Cæsar — of the Bruce and the Black Prince, and the interest which yet belongs to the fields of Marathon and Pharsalia, of Črecy and Bannockburn, compared with the indifference, or rather reluctance, with which we listen to the details of Asiatic warfarethe conquests that transferred to the Moguls the vast sovereignties of India, or raised a dynasty of Manchew Tartars to the Celestial Empire of China. It will not do to say, that we want something nobler in character, and more exalted in intellect, than is to be met with among those murderous Orientals — that there is nothing to interest in the contentions of mere force and violence ; and that it requires no very fine-drawn reasoning to explain why we should turn with disgust from the story, if it had been preserved, of the savage affrays which have drenched the sands of Africa or the rocks of New Zealand—through long generations of murder— with the blood of their brutish population. This may be true enough of Madagascar or Dahomy; but it does not apply to the case before us. The nations of Asia generally at least those composing its great states— were undoubtedly more polished than those of Europe, during all the period that preceded their recent connexion. Their warriors were as brave in the field, their statesmen more subtle and politic in the cabinet : In the arts of luxury, and all the elegancies of civil life, they were immeasurably superior ; in ingenuity of speculation—in litera

MIGHT ASIA HAVE CIVILISED EUROPE ?

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ture—in social politeness—the comparison is still in their favour.

It has often occurred to us, indeed, to consider what the effect would have been on the fate and fortunes of the world, if, in the fourteenth, or fifteenth century, when the germs of their present civilisation were first disclosed, the nations of Europe had been introduced to an intimate and friendly acquaintance with the great polished communities of the East, and had been thus led to take them for their masters in intellectual cultivation, and their models in all the higher pursuits of genius, polity, and art. The difference in our social and moral condition, it would not perhaps be easy to estimate: But one result, we conceive, would unquestionably have been, to make us take the same deep interest in their ancient story, which we now feel, for similar reasons, in that of the sterner barbarians of early Rome, or the more imaginative clans and colonies of immortal Greece. The experiment, however, though there seemed oftener than once to be some openings for it, was not made. Our crusading ancestors were too rude themselves to estimate or to feel the value of the oriental refinement which

presented itself to their passing gaze, and too entirely occupied with war and bigotry, to reflect on its causes or effects; and the first naval adventurers who opened up India to our commerce, were both too few and too far off to communicate to their brethren at home

any taste for the splendours which might have excited their own admiration. By the time that our intercourse with those regions was enlarged, our own career of improvement had been prosperously begun; and our superiority in the art, or at least the discipline of war, having given us a signal advantage in the conflicts to which that extending intercourse immediately led, naturally increased the aversion and disdain with which almost all races of men are apt to regard strangers to their blood and dissenters from their creed. Since that time the genius of Europe has been steadily progressive, whilst that of Asia has been at least stationary, and most probably retrograde ; and the descendants of the feudal and predatory

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STATIONARY OR RETROGRADE CONDITION

warriors of the West have at last attained a decided

predominancy over those of their elder brothers in the East; to whom, at that period, they were unquestionably inferior in elegance and ingenuity, and whose hostilities were then conducted on the same system with our own. They, in short, have remained nearly where they were ; while we, beginning with the improvement of our governments and military discipline, have gradually outstripped them in all the lesser and more ornamental attainments in which they originally excelled.

This extraordinary fact of the stationary or degenerate condition of the two oldest and greatest families of mankind—those of Asia and Africa, has always appeared to us a sad obstacle in the way of those who believe in the general progress of the race, and its constant advancement towards a state of perfection. Two or three thousand years ago, those vast communities were certainly in a happier and more prosperous state than they are now; and in many of them we know that their most powerful and flourishing societies have been corrupted and dissolved, not by any accidental or extrinsic disaster, like foreign conquest, pestilence, or elemental devastation, but by what appeared to be the natural consequences of that very greatness and refinement which had marked and rewarded their earlier exertions. In Europe, hitherto, the case has certainly been different: For though darkness did fall upon its nations also, after the lights of Roman civilisation were extinguished, it is to be remembered that they did not burn out of themselves, but were trampled down by hosts of invading barbarians, and that they blazed out anew, with increased splendour and power, when the dulness of that superincumbent mass was at length vivified by their contact, and animated by the fermentation of that leaven which had all along been secretly working in its recesses. In Europe certainly there has been a progress : And the more polished of its present inhabitants have not only regained the place which was held of old by their illustrious masters of Greece and Rome, but have plainly outgone them in the most substantial and exalted of

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