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to interest you; but in order to derive every possible advantage from your change of situation, you should seriously apply yourself to the study of some of the native languages. The Hindostanee is the most widely diffused, though should you be stationed in Bengal, the Bengalee or ancient language of Gaur will be most useful, as it is spoken over a pretty extensive district. However if you wish to travel much, learn Persian, which may be called the French of the East; for you will not find a village where at least one person cannot speak it. Besides, it will gain respect from the natives, who consider a knowledge of various languages as the mark of a superior education, not to mention the great importance it must be of to an officer to understand the language of those whom he is to command. It was not perhaps the least part of the policy of the Romans, to plant their language in every conquest, in order to attach their new subjects; and the emperor Akbar increased the number of schools in Hindostan, and caused the Persian and Hindostanee to be publicly taught, together with the Sanscrit, and encouraged the translation of poems and scientific works from the ancient language of the Bramins into the vernacular tongues, by which means they became more popular. Perhaps if something of the same kind were done by the English,

if translations of their own books were given to them, it would induce them to learn the language more generally, and thus open to them the road to all those improvements of which we hear so much said, but which I fear our countrymen do not go the right way to introduce. I think if I were a powerful person, I should propose a reward to the little Hindû boys who should read or repeat most fluently a tale from Mr. Wilkins's Heetopadesa. I am sure the boy would read English much sooner by giving him the ideas he was accustomed to in his own country, clothed in our language, than by imposing upon him the double difficulty of a new language and new ideas also; and I am equally sure, that when the boy grew up and found that by his knowledge of English, he could carry on his trade without the intervention of an interpreting clerk to make out his English accounts, he would prize the language the more, and be the more anxious that his children should be instructed in

it;

thus interest would tend to diffuse knowledge if it were once put within the reach of the people.

But I must have already tired you with this long letter, and I dare say we shall have occasion to return to this very important subject in our future correspondence. Mean time adieu, and receive my best wishes.

M. G.

LETTER II.

kind though

I THANK YOU you for your very very short letter, and in reply to your question about the Sanscrit, I have only to say that I do not think it would be worth your while to begin to study it, unless you had a prospect of a much longer residence in the East, than I trust you look forward to. But that your curiosity respecting it may not be wholly unsatisfied, I shall give you a short account of that venerable tongue, and of some of the languages derived from it, which I have taken from Mr. Colebrooke's interesting essay on the subject.

Were all other monuments swept away from the face of Hindostan, were its inhabitants destroyed, and its name forgotten, the existence of the Sanscrit language would prove that it once contained a race who had reached a high degree of refinement, and who must have been blest with many rare advantages before such a language could have been formed and polished. Amidst the wreck of the nations where it flourished, and superior to the havoc of war and of conquest, it remains a venerable monument of the splendor of other times, as the solid pyramid in the deserts of Egypt attests, that where now the whirlwind drives the overwhelming

sand-wave, and plows up the loose and barren dust, a numerous population once enlivened the plain, and the voice of industry once gladdened the woods.

The languages of India are usually reckoned to be four.

The Sanscrit or language of the gods.
The Prácrit or spoken language.

The Paisachi or language of the demons.
The Magad❜hi.

Some writers however substitute for the two latter the Apabhransa or Jargon, and the Misra or mixed language.

The word Sanscrit literally means adorned, and that language is indeed highly polished; it is cultivated throughout India as the language of science and literature, of laws and religion; and of its great antiquity some comparative idea may be formed from the time in which most of the elegant poets flourished, which was about the century preceding the Christian æra. Now, many ages must have elapsed, before so rich, so perfect a language could have been framed, and its rules so accurately fixed. "It evidently draws its origin (says Mr. Colebrooke) from a primeval tongue which was gradually refined in different climates, and became Sanscrit in India, Pelavi in Persia, and Greek on the shores of the Mediterranean."

Although the Sanscrit is now a dead language, it was probably at one period the spoken language of most parts of India, and the objections which might be made to this opinion, such as the inordinate length of the compound words, and the strict rules for the permutation of letters in these compounds, are obviated by the fluency with which those persons deliver themselves who still speak the language.

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I think that, from the fragments of the history and literature of the Bramins which have been translated-and from these only I can judgewe are authorized to conclude, that excepting in times of great civil commotion or religious wars, the Bramins lived a life of retired indolence; not, indeed, like the western monks, withdrawn from domestic cares within the walls of a monastery, but in sacred groves and caverned rocks, where, surrounded by their pupils and their slaves, they cultivated poetry, music, and astronomy; and only deigned to appear in the active world to receive the homage of a court, and direct its monarchs; or sometimes to pronounce on them the malediction, which was almost sure to be followed by the desertion of their servants and the rebellion of their subjects.

It was in these retirements that, given up to study, the Bramins perfected their sacred language, and composed those numerous and pro

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