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The whole of this ancient world was for a moment under one chief, but was soon again divided amongst the generals who succeeded to that great conqueror;' and the Egyptian and Persian empires became rivals, as Egypt and Syria had been before. The Grecian nations still remained the chief seats of civilization and the fine arts; and this continued till the Romans, originally a poorer people than the Macedonians, conquered the whole. This was the second great triumph of poverty and energy over wealth and grandeur, and, in this struggle, Greece itself fell.
The effects of wealth were not less formidable to the Romans themselves, than they had been to those nations they had enabled that brave and warlike people to conquer; so that the mistress of the world, in her turn, fell before nations that were rude and barbarous, but uncorrupted by wealth and luxury.
The conquerors of Rome were too rude, and too many in number, to become themselves enervated by wealth, which disappeared under their rapacious grasp, and which they neither had the art nor inclination to preserve.
This invasion of the fertile and rich provinces by men rude and ignorant, but who came from northern climates, established a new order of things; and only a small remnant of former wealth and greatness was preserved in Egypt and at Constantinople.
For several centuries of war and confusion, commerce and the arts appear to have been undervalued and neglected; but still the taste for oriental luxuries was not entirely banished, and, at the first interval of peace and safety, sprung up again. It was then that Alexandria, Venice, Genoa, and Constantinople, became the channels through which the people of Europe procured the luxuries of Asia. Babylon, Memphis, Palmyra, and all the other great cities of antiquity, were no more; even Greece had lost its arts and splendour ; 'Alexandria and Constantinople were repeatedly assailed, taken, and conquered, by the barbarians, who envied their wealth, but whọ still found an interest in continuing them as channels for procuring to European nations the refinements of the East. Though Venice and Genoa were wealthy, they were but sniall, and of little importance ; and all the nations who might have crushed them at a blow, only considering them as sea-ports of convenience and utility, allowed them to remain independent.
As an intercourse had been established between the northern and southern parts, a taste for the luxuries of Asia had extended to the shores of the Baltic, soon after the victorious arms of Charlemagne had carried there some degree of civilization, and the Christian religion.
Then it was that a new and more widely-extended system of commerce, but something like what had formerly existed in Tyre and Carthage, began in all the maritime towns of Europe, when Italy and Flanders became the most wealthy parts of Europe. A spirit of chivalry, and a desire of conquest, not founded on the same principles with the conquests of ancient nations, or of Rome, to obtain wealth, pervaded all Europe, and the greatest confusion prevailed. In the history of wealth and power, as connected together, this is a chasm. Those who had power despised wealth, and were seeking after what they esteemed more--military glory; and wealth was confined to a number of insulated
spots, and possessed by men who were merchants, without any share of power or authority.
This extraordinary and unprecedented state of things gave rise to the Hanseatic League, which rose at last to such importance that those who had been so long secking after glory, without finding it, began to see the importance which was derived from wealth. They began to see that, even in the pursuit of their favourite object, wealth was an excellent assistant, and the friendship of merchants began to be solicited by princes, as in the days of Tyre and Sidon.
This progress was greatly facilitated and accelerated by the crusades, which, at the same time that they beggared half the nobility of Europe, gave them a taste for the refinements of the East, and taught them to set some value on the means by which such refinements could be procured.
In this manner were things proceeding, when three great discoveries changed the situation of mankind."
The mariner's compass, gunpowder, and the art of printing, were all discovered nearly about the same time; and, independent of their great and permanent effects, they were wonderfully calculated to alter the situation of nations at that period.
The navigation of the ocean, which led to the discovery of a passage to the East Indies, and of America, gave a mortal blow to the nations situated on the borders of the Mediterranean Sea, who thus found themselves deprived of the commerce of the East.
The discovery of gunpowder, a means so powerful of annoying an enemy, without the aid of human force, which places a giant and a dwarf in some sort upon an equality, was wonderfully adapted for doing away the illusions of knight-errantry, that had such a powerful effect in making war be preferred to commerce: while printing facilitated the communication of every species of knowledge.
It was then that northern nations began to cultivate arts and sciences, as those of the south under a mild heaven, and on a fertile soil, had done three thousand years before. But ingenuity and invention took a different direction in the north from what they had done in the southern climates; instead of sovereigns and slaves, men were more in mutual want of each other, and therefore a more equal division of the fruits of industry was required.
The manufactures of the former times had been confined chiefly to luxuries for the great, and simple necessaries for slaves : and commerce, though productive of great wealth to a few, was in its limits equally confined.
It was natural that the two nations which had first discovered the passage to the East, and the continent of the West, which abounded with the precious metals, should become rich and powerful, as those cities had formerly done that possessed exclusively the channels of commerce. Those two countries were Spain and Portugal : but here again we find the same fatality attend the acquisition of wealth that had formerly been remarked. It was, indeed, not to be expected, that the steadiness and virtue of the Spaniards and Portuguese could resist the operation of a cause, that neither the wisdom of the Egyptians, the arts and industry of Greece, nor the stubborn and martial patriotism of the Romans could withstand.
Those · Those two nations soon sunk, and the Dutch, the French, and the English, became participators of the commerce." pp. 70-74.
Our readers will perceive that this is an able sketch of the grand outline of human affairs, within the periods surveyed, Some of them will, perhaps, be inclined to ask--did it never occur to the author, while he was inquiring into the causes which produced the changes here recorded, to consider what could be the end for which these nations rose and fell ? As it cannot admit of doubt, that all things are under the administration of an All-wise Being, these events must have stood connected with some ultimate end, worthy of his wisdom and good. ness; and we should have been glad to see such talents and research engaged in the investigation, under the light and dictates of the sacred scriptures.
(To le concluded in our next Number.)
Art. III. Historical Fragments of the Mogul Empire, of the Morattoes, · and of the English Concerns in Indostan, from the year 1659-Origin
of the English Establishment, and of the Company's Trade at Broach and Surat: and a general Idea of the Government and People of Indostan; by Robert Orme, Esq. F. A. S. To which is prefixed an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author. Quarto. pp. nearly • 600. price il. 8s. 6d. boards, Wingrave, 1905. W H EN our old friends, who laboured in the field of litera
ture with assiduity and success, have passed that bourne whence no traveller returns, we reflect on their career with veneration and regret. Recollecting the pleasure and improvement we derived from a perusal of their works, we cherish an affectionate remembrance of their talents, and of the important services which they rendered to the cause of science, and the interests of human kind. Such a man was Robert Orme, the author of the volume now before us, whose ample title page gives particular information of its contents. His history of the Military Transactions of the British Nation in Hindostan, which first introduced him to the public, has been long and justly celebrated. Few works have conveyed a more abundant portion of knowledge, concerning Eastern transactions and events, And though greater accuracy and precision may be found in some of our later writers, it must be remembered, that they stand on an eminence which his labours had raised. Guided by him through the intricate passages of the Gauts, it was easy for them afterwards to pursue their journey in the champaign country. A thousand times greater praise is due to the hardi hood of the stern Englishman, who first planted a colony on the shores of America, among the savage tribes of Indians,
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than to the planter who now repairs to the back settlements, and sets himself down next to the great wilderness, and the thin remains of the Aborigines.
The Fragments in this volume, we are told, were prized by the author, above all his works. They were the fruit of deep investigation and extensive research. Their object is to trace the origin of the Mahratta government, under Sevagi its founder, a man of singular talents, who supported his authority, and extended his territories, in spite of the most strenuous efforts of the mighty Auréngzebe for his destruction.
Sevagi was a zealous votary of Brahma, and considered himself as raised up to defend the gods of Hindostan, against the tyranny of the Mogul, The account of his adventures, and ultimate prosperity, is compiled with great labour from various authorities, and will be read with interest. His private life, we are told,
“ Was simple even to parsimony; his manner void of insolence or ostentation ; as a sovereign he was humane, and solicitous for the well being of his people as soon as (he was) assured of their obedience.".. 'Sevagi possessed all the qualities of command: every influence, however latent, was combined in his schemes, which generally comprehended the option of more than one success; so that his intention could rarely be ascertained, and when accomplished did not discover the extent of his advantages, until developed by subsequent acquisitions. In personal activity he exceeded all generals of whom there is record although equal to the encounter of any danger, he always preferred to surmount it by circumvention.”
He well knew that gold was often an effectual weapon, where steel would be unavailing; and, though, in general, mild and magnanimous, he appears to have been, like other antient and modern heroes, more concerned for the success of his enterprizes, than for their justice and humanity.
Excessive fatigue in seizing a convoy of money from Aurengzebe, occasioned the illness, which on the 9th of April 1680, terminated his life at the age of 52.
There are numerous grammatical faults, and inaccuracies in this Memoir; 'we know not whether to impute them to a defect in the copy, or to negligence at the press.
In the Account of the establishment of the English at Surat, we discover the unwearied industry, and the bold determined conduct, which mark the national character, and which struggled through formidable opposition from different quarters, till their perseverance was crowned with permanent success.
The' General idea of the government and people of Hindostan’ is extremely interesting, and conveys that accurate delineation of character and conduct, which could only be given by a skilful observer on the spot,
But But as these pieces have been published before, to notice them by a particular review would be a departure from our established rules. We therefore call the attention of our readers to the life of Mr. Orme, which introduces the volume. We are sorry that it is more barren of incidents, than might have been expected: but whatever makes us acquainted, though iinperfectly, with a man who extended the bounds of useful knowledge, acquires a value in our estimation, and is entitled to regard.
Dr. Alexander Orme, the father of our author, went out to India, in the company's service, as a physician and surgeon, in the year 1706. He conducted himself with great respectability, and rose to eminence and preferment. Robert, the subject of this memoir, was his second son, and was born on Christmas-day, 1706. When but two years of age, he was sent home to England: and after residing some time with an aunt in London, he was placed in his sixth year at Harrow school, where, between seven and eight years, he studied the classics with delight and success, equally distinguished by quickness of parts, and assiduity of application. After adding a commercial to a classical education, he returned to India, and arrived at Calcutta in 1742. At first he was employed in the house of a private merchant; but was afterwards appointed a writer in the company's civil service, and in this station he continued between nine and ten years. At his entrance on this office, in his eighteenth year, we find the following prayer composed by him, which it will do young gentlemen going to India no harm to hear and to appropriate. It. is dated November 1744.
"O God, whose infinite power is not more shewn in the works of thy creation, than thine eternal beneficence in the preservation of thy creatures, vouchsafe to hear the supplications of one of the meanest 'among them; who in all due sense of the lowliness of his condition, presumes on the authority of his Redeemer's command alone, to throw himself in all his sins, at the throne of thy mercy. Forgive him, O Lord, his manifold breaches of thy ordinances, and endue him with grace, to amend his ways before thee. Cast from his heart the rancour of pride, the malignity of envy and malice, and all those tumultuous passions and urgent emotions of which our frail beings are, without thy prevention, so susceptible; endue him with humility; grant him charity with all men."
In Mr. Orme, at this early period, it is easy to discern an. active mind, ever in pursuit of knowledge, by the acquisition of which he made himself eminently useful to the East India
Company. In the year 1753, he visited England, and there . rendered important services to his country, by communicating
to the ministry information of the true state of affairs in India, and by urging them to those exertions which annihilated the French power in that part of the world. He went back to