and in which the Natural History of the different kinds of Stones to which the Name of Bafaltes has been given, at different Times is exposed and illustrated.

We learn from Pliny, that the Egyptians found in Ethiopia a stone, which they called Basaltes, from its having the colour and hardness of iron,-that the statue of Memnon was of the same stone,' and that a colossal statue of the Nile, placed in the temple of Peace at Rome, was the largest mass of basaltes, then known. M. DesMAREST proves, that it is from these indications alone, that we must proceed in our researches concerning the basaltes of the ancients. If the statues above-mentioned were to be found, the question would soon be decided. Father Hardouin tells us, that the statue of the Nile was still in the capitol, when he wrote ;-but he mistook this statue for a copy of it, done in marble of Carrara. Qur Academician, however, after an attentive examination of several ancient remains, found two stones, which might both be considered as the basaltes of the ancients—the one a kind of black schorl, or cockle, called gabbro in Italy; a blackish, hard stone, crystallized in plates, and sometimes mixed with veins of granit, quartz, and felt spar; the other of a greeniih grey colour, resembling the basaltese lava, which M. DESMAREST has demonstrated to be the production of Volcanos. He does not determine whether the ancients confounded together these two stones: and nothing but a voyage into Egypt can decide this matter.

After these refearches, we meet with something of more im. portance. Our Academician gives a history of the foreign substances that are met with in the productions of Volcanos: these substances have been carried along with the lava, some. times in their natural state, sometimes with more or less altera. tions. The void spaces in the lava are often observed to be filled by infiltrations *, which sometimes, also, change the subitance of the lava itself.. Our Academician describes these different substances, which are found in the lava, and all their various properties and characters.--He ranges them into four classes, of which the quartz and the gabbro form the two first; the two last consist of calcareous substances, and the fragments of zeolite and alum earchs, that are contained in the lava. All that relates to the qualities of thele substances, is treated here in the most circumstantial detail, in the compass of fifty pages.

M. DESMAREST maintains, that all these substances derive their origin from the first or primitive bodies, whose fusion formed the lava, or which were carried along with it. If this be true,

* The reader will fardon this term, which is expressive and wanted.


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it sollows, of consequence, that when the productions of a Volcano, taken from a current of lava, contain gabbro, quartz, zeolite or calcareous substances, the matter, which furnished this lava, must contain them likewise: and this M. DESMAREST has observed to be always the case. In the granits of Auvergne, there is a mixture of gabbro, and the same mixture is found in the currents of lava of the volcano there. In another district, the granits are without gabbro, and so also are the currents of lava there. The ancient lavas of Vesuvius contain foreign substances, which are not observable in the modern ones, because the modern lava is, according to our Academician, only the product of the fusion of the ancient. The historical account of his observations in France and Italy, relative to the nature and origin of the substances contained in the lava, fills near forty pages of this ample memoir, and is worthy of the attention of the connoisseurs in natural history.

The class of ANALYSIS contains a memoir concerning partial differences ;-that of GEOGRAPHY two memoirs, one on the longitude and latitude of Pondicherry, and another on the map of Mesopotamia ;—that of Mechanics, a memoir on the arching of bridges, and one on the spinning of filk. The eulogies of Meffrs. Morand and Heriflant, two very eminent men in chirurgery and physic, are presixed to the memoirs of this volume.


ART. IV. L'EZOUR Vedam, ou Ancien Commentaire du Vedam, contenant l'Expofi

tion des Opinions Religieuses et Philosophiques des Indiens, &c. i. e. The Ezour VEDAM, or an Ancient Commentary on the Vedam, containing the Religious and Philosophical Opinions of the Indians, translated from the Samscretam, or Hanskrit I. By a Brahmin. Revised and published with Preliminary Remarks, Notes, and ll. lustrations. 2 Vols. 12mo. Paris, and Yverdun. 1779.

S the Indians are not communicative, nor the Europeans,

who frequent their country, eagerly bent on any pursuits of a literary kind, we know little of the philosophical and religious opinions of thefe Asiatics. The relations of Rogers, however interesting, have only for their object the popular religion of India: the accounts of Dow and Holwell contain, indeed, the most ingenious explications of the Indian tables, which they allegorize into a pure and rational series of theological doctrines; but these explications are destitute of sufficient authority : they seem to have been the inventions of certain

What is here called Samfcretam, is the language of the Vedan, which is known to the Brahmins alone, and which our Authors call the Samskertan, Samkroutam, Sankrit, and Hankrit--all these different manners of writing the same word,


Brahmins, who were alhamed of their abfurd mythology; and they are contradicted by the commentaries and explications of others. It is only a translation of the canonical books of Indians (of which, many extol the wisdom and antiquity, without knowing much about them) that can fix our ideas on this subject.

For the translation of the work here announced, the public is indebted to the Baron de Sainte Croix, of the Royal Academy of Inscriptions. It was made by a Brahmin of Benares, who was a correspondent of that academy; it was found among the papers of Mr. Barthelemy, fecond member of the council of Pondicherry; and a copy of it was brought from India by Mr, Modave, who made a present of it to M. DE VOLTAIRE ; and in the year 1761, the latter sent it to the king's library. The manuscript, however, was not complete; but M. de Sainte Croix supplied the chapters, which are wanting, from another copy of the same translation, made by M. Anquetil du Perron, from one in the possession of the nephew of M. Barthelemy.-All this is related at length in the preface of the learned editor.

This preface is followed by some preliminary observations, in which M. De Sainte Croix, tracing up to its origin the reJigion of the Indians, finds in it several lines of resemblance with that of the Egyptians, many of whom he carries into India about the end of the 16th century, before Christ, upon the testimony of Josephus, without, however, quoting the passage. The learned Baron relates afterwards the progress and vicisitudes of this religion, takes notice of its resemblance with that which Zoroaiter taught the Persians, particularly in the province of Ariana, from whence, and from the neighbouring countries, he repiesents the Samaneans (a kind of magi or philosophers which lome have erroneously confounded with the B:ahmins) as spreading themselves in India, and teaching new doctrines. Before their arrival, the Brahmins, says our Author, were in the highest period of their glory; they were the only oracles of India, and their principal residence was on the banks of the Ganges, and in the adjacent mountains; while the Samaneans were settled towards the Indus.- -By this account, one would be led to conclude, that the Indians had a religious doctrine before that which had been taught them by the Samaneans: but this is not conformable with what the Brahmins say themselves, viz. that they derived all their knowledge from the Samaneans, before whose arrival it woul!, in effect, be difficult to prove that the Brahmins were the religious teachers of the Indians.

The most celebrated and ancient of the Samanean doctors was Beutta (Boudda, or Bydda), who was born 683 years before Christ. His disciples honoured him as a God, and his doctrine,


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which consisted chiefly in the Transmigration of Souls, and in the Worship of Cows, was adopted not only in India, but also in Japan, China, Siam, and Tártàry. It was propagated, according to our Editor, in Thibet, in the eighth century, and fucceeded, there, the ancient religion of Zamolxis * The Samaneans or Buddists, were entirely destroyed in India by the jealous rage of the Brahmins, whose abfurd practices and fables they affected to treat with contempt ; but several of their books are still respectfully preserved on the coast of Malabar; and, moreover, we are told, that several of the Brahmin-orders have adopted their manner of living, and openly profess the greatest part of their doctrines.

Our Author, or rather Editor, renders it more than probable, that the Indians derived a great part of their knowledge, and even of their fables, from the Jews (whose captivity and disperfion may have led many of them to India, in the time of Budda, from the Greeks, who went afterwards there with Alexander, and also from the Christians, who settled in India, in the early ages of the church. They also availed themselves of the opportunity of acquiring knowledge from commercial travellers; but from whatever sources they derived information, it was still disfigured by their excessive superstition.

With respect to the work itself, it is a commentary on the Vedam, or facred books of law and religion, which were written by the Samaneans, in the Samscretan language, and which but a small number, even of the Brahmins, understand at this day. M. De SAINTE Croix gives us an idea of four Vidams, from Indian memoirs and relations : He speaks also of the Pcuranams, which were religious books of an inferior order, and which some of the Brahmins reject, as others do the Vedams, The Baga Vedam, which contains the doctrine of the Indians concerning the Deity, happiness, a contemplative life, the history of the creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe, the origin of inferior gods, men, giants, &c. is one of the Pouranams. After there, come the Schafters or Shafta, whose antiquity has been greatly cried up in Europe, but which must be posterior to the Vedams, of which they are no more than the explication. Now M. De Sainte Croix places the publication of the Vedams in the tenth century of the Chriftian

I Budda was high prieft; and our Editor thinks, that the grand Lamas, which the people of Thibet always kept up, even after their adopting the Indian religion, were his representatives and fuccesfors. But M. de Guignes chinks, that it was from the Indian pontiff, that the people of Thibet took the thought of erecting one among themselves, when their religious voyages into India were rendered difficult and dangerous, by the arrival of the Mahometans in the northern parts of that country.


zra, and that of the Pouranams in the fifteenth. All these books contain the most sublime and elevated ideas of the Supreme Being, mingled with the most absurd fables, the grofleft materialism, and the most monstrous fancies. As to the EZOUR Vedam, now before us, M. Voltaire pretended, that it was more ancient than the age of Alexander the Great; but the Editor refutes this opinion, by an argument to which there is no reply, viz. that mention is made, in this book, of the Mahometans and Moors.

After these preliminary observations, we find the translation of the Ezour VEDAM. This work is a dialogue between a man plunged in the thickest darkness of idolatry, called Biache, and Chumontou, a philosopher of the Canigueuls or Eclectics, who were attached to no feit, but took from each the doctrines that pleased them most. The former gives an account of Indian paganism, in all its popular doctrines ;-the latter thews their absurdity, combats idolatry, and gives his own opinions concerning the unity of God, the creation, the nature of the soul, the worship that is worthy of the Supreme Being, and the duties of every rank and station in life, and his doctrine seems to be entirely conformable to the Samanean fyftem. His work contains eight books, divided into different chapters, in which he treats of the creation of the world, the Vedams, the different Castes, of the production of beings, the different itates of life, of hell, of fin, of good works, of meditation, of paradise, of the different incarnations of the gods, of giants, and of the soul.

There is a strange mixture of enormous absurdity and rational theology in this work, from which we shall extract some passages. After having heard Biache's account of the origin of the worship of Lingam, which surpasses, in indecent Atupidity, almost all the fables of Grecian theology, Chumontou treats the story with the warmest expressions of contempt and indignation. He, moreover, censures severely the invention of the Pouranams, of the incarnations of Vischnou, and condemns those, who confer the name of God upon Brahma, Vischnou, Chiven, or Gonetho, or worship them as such. He also combats the distinction of the Caftes, which raise certain orders of men so much above others, and observes, on this occafion, that Adimo is the name of the first man, whom God formed, and that from him proceeded all those whom Biache falsely looked upon as Deities. He repeats to this latter the prayer, which thofe (whom he erroneously looks upon as Gods) address to the Supreme Being, and this prayer is, indeed, remarkable enough to deserve a place here. It is as follows : “ O God Creator, O God Preserver of all things--thou haft formed me from no.' thing, that I might employ the life thou haft bestowed upon


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