Sidor som bilder

plan, presents the greatest obstacles to this method becoming general. But nothing could be easier than to allow parties to bind themselves, without the costs of a bill, and thus to enable any considerable number of tythe-payers to conclude a bargain with the parson, under the inspection of the patron and ordinary. It is probable that, at first, no very great number of such transactions would take place, nor would it be desirable that there should ; as the price of land would thereby advance in a manner unfavourable to the design of the parties. But as soon as the advantages of the scheme were perceived, the practice would spread ; and it is probable, that, in the course of a few years, the commutation would be effected in every part of the country where the evils of the present system are the most severely felt.

The objections to such plans are chiefly founded upon an alarm for the temporal interests of the Church. But those interests seem to be safely entrusted to the parties who have the management of all other ecclesiastical concerns. It can hardly be supposed that the patron and ordinary should consent to the spoliation of a benefice, even if the incumbent were prevailed upon to sacrifice its future emoluments for a temporary advantage to himself. The principle of commutation has been extensively acted upon in many instances. When commons are en. elosed, the usual practice is, to allot a certain part to the parson in lieu of tythe, and to give him, by the enclosure act, powers of leasing and raising money for enabling him to turn his share

Nor is it uncommon to allot an additional share of the waste, in order to relieve the old enclosures in the parish from tythe. No one ever supposed, that the concerns of the Church were put in jeopardy by such compacts; on the contrary, the value of livings has always been greatly raised by them, while improvements were carried on, which the payment of tythe would for ever have prevented. It has been apprehended by some, that such arrangements would convert clergymen into farmers. This, however, is not found to be the case where the . experiment has been tried; they have let their lands to farm like other landlords; and, indeed, if a parson is disposed to cultivate the ground himself, he may do so as a farmer under the present laws. At all events, the injury arising from his so doing, is a very doubtful one; the occupation is innocent, and it is not degrading; and his dignity and usefulness suffer much less by it than by the perpetual disputes with his flock, which arise from the tythe system. We are unwilling to pursue this interesting subject further at present, than to remark, that if any serious evils were found to arise from the change, the law

to account.

might be revised, and the facilities of making bargains (which alone we are recommending) might be withdrawn, or modified as the result of experience should prescribe.

The last point to which we shall call the reader's attention, in treating of the remedies for the present distresses, is the grand evil of Excessive Taxation. Unless means are speedily devised for lightening this intolerable burthen, all other methods of relief appear to be unavailing. The revenue of sixty-five millions which our permanent peace establishment is to cost, exceeds, by a great deal, what can be borne by the land, from which so much of it immediately is drawn, upon which so much more ultimately and most unequally falls. Above forty millions of this prodigious sum is for the interest of the debt, and the expense of reducing it. Does any man doubt that a large part of this may well be spared ? Some have proposed to abate the interest; but the proposition has created alarm in the public mind. * No objection of the least weight has ever been urged against diminishing the amount of the sinking lund. Six or seven millions of it might be taken without even materially affecting the price of stocks, as we have fully explained in a former Number; and taxes to this amount might, in consequence, be taken off. Why, then, it may be asked, does not the Government adopt a measure which the distresses of the country so loudly call for? The reason is plain :--The Ministers are resolved to keep up an enormous and unprecedented peace establishment; and, as they have not the means of paying for it by the produce of the taxes, over and above the sum raised for the interest and charges of the debt, they are determined to reserve the sinking fund, in order to use it in paying for this establishment. At present, the pretext for not touching the sinking fund is, that they cannot relieve the whole country at the expense of the stockholder ;-a vain and hollow deceit ;---for the stockholder would suffer nothing by the change. But the truth is, that they will not lower the peace expenses of the country; and to keep those at nearly their present amount, they are prepared, both to maintain the unbearable load of our present taxation, and to encroach upon the sinking fund.

* See this subject handled ably in the pamphlet upon the Income Tax, by the Reverend Mr Glover-by far the best tract to which that question gave rise.

$ The ways and means of this year have been made up of a surplus unapplied from last year's votes and loans from the Bank,

ART. II. The History of Persia, from the most early Period to

the present Time: Containing an Account of the Religion, Government, Usages and Character of the Inhabitants of that Kingdom. By Colonel Sur JOHN MALCOLM, K.C. B., K. L. S., late Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Persia, from the Supreme Government of India. In Two Volumes. 1815.

IF we neglect the fluctuating limits of transitory possession,

and look only to the landmarks placed by nature, the boundaries of the Persian enpire seem distinctly traced by the courses of the Indus, the Oxus and the Tigris; the shores of the Caspian, and the arid tracts which skirt the Indian Ocean. The primitive inhabitants of this extensive region, too, have in all ages been advantageously distinguished from the adjacent nations.

Their tali aud graceful persons are neither disfigured by the harsh features of the Arabian physiognony, nor the darker tints of their Indian neighbours. Their skill in horsemanship, their expertness at military exercises, the acuteness of their understanding, and the vivacity of their conversation, appear at all times to have merited praise; whilst their insincerity and falsehood, the usual vices of slaves, seem as justly to have attracted censure. In all these respects nothing is change ed. They are still richly endowed with the gifis of nature; but the invariable laws of the Medes and Persians have decreed, that despotism, in its most pernicious form, should defeat the objects of her bounty; and that, with less glory, less wealth, and less enjoyment, the subjects of Futteh Ali Khan, at the present day, should display the same natural talents, and the same inherent defects, which marked the slaves of Darius, dispersed through twenty satrapies.

The origin and remote affinities of nations are soon lost in obscurity. Yet, of all historical monuments, the least disputable, and most enduring, is its language. The modern language of Persia is the offspring of the antient Pehlavi, itself à descendant of the still more venerable Zend. We consider this language as having existed, in its present form, only since the Arabian conquest, and the Pehlavi to have prevailed from the time of Arbaces the Mede, who threw off the Assyrian domination. The writers who have treated of the intermediate period, always consider the Zend as a sacred language, confined to religious ceremonies, and of the highest antiquity. For the slender means we possess of judging of the Zend and Pehlavi, we are solely indebted to M. Anquetil du Perron. The result of an examination will demonstrate, that the languages of Persia and India were, at one period, the same, or kindred dialects of one original tongue; and the resemblance is the most striking in the most antient specimens. Yet it is sufficient to turn up & modern Persic dictionary, in order to discover, that innumerable words are regularly derived from Sanscrit roots of similar import; or a modern grammar, to trace the same inflexion's buried in the more complex structure of the Sanscrit. Many Persian words, names and titles, preserved by Greek writers, and which are destitute of meaning in modern Persic, present a distinct and appropriate sense in the cognate language. The fact, indeed, is little calculated co excite surprise, as the two countries are contiguous. Had the antient records of Persia been transmitted to an enlightened age ; or did the traditions which survive, without replacing them, merit the name of history, we might expect to see unfolded the nature of that connexion which spread the language of the Brahmans from the shores of the Brahmaputra to the banks of the Tigris; and to ascertain whether it was unaccompanied with any of the remarkable institutions, which have, in all ages, distinguished the sons of Brahma.

The work which has given occasion to these observations, contains one unbroken chain of narrative, deduced from the first dawn of civilization to the present day, and extracted from naEive sources. This immense undertaking is rendered still more complete, by a very comprehensive view of the actual state of Persia, derived from personal observation, aided by all she resources of diplomacy, and all the advantages of a perlect acquaintance with the language. Detached portions of Persian history have long been before the public, but these have never been assailed by the touchstone of criticism. The eminently useful, bat unreadable work of D'Herbelot, terminates with the reign of Shahrokh in A. D. 1446. Since that period, all we know of Persia is derived from the unconnected accounts of travellers, merchants and missionaries, with the exception of the reign of Shah Nadir. The ample vacancies left by these defective sources of information, are ably supplied in the work before us, which we consider an important acquisition to the stock of general knowledge, and an honourable addition to the literary fame of the country which has produced it.

We are informed by Herodotus, that the Medes were originally called Arii, an appellation which they afterwards changed for that of Medi. It is very remarkable, that whilst the first name continues at this day to designate the whole of the extensive country whose limits we have traced, the latter name of Medi is scarcely to be met with in the writings of any native historian. We say, scarcely; for although the fact is little known, there still exist Persian documents which mention the Medes. Airan, (which, though thus spelt, is pronounced Iran), is the name of Persia from the earliest times to the present day. In the inscription at Taki Bostam, deciphered by M. Sylvestre de Sacy, Shahpur styles himself, king of kings, of Iran and Apiran. We had ventured in a former Number to state our conjecture, that the Arii were so named from the Sanscrit word Aria, respecta able ; an epithet which the Hindus familiarly apply to themselves; and which they would not scruple to extend to any nation divided into four casts. We were pleased to find our conjecture confirmed by the unsuspected testimony of Mula Firoz, a fire-worshipper of Bombay, who informed our author, that the title assumed by Shahpur was, king of believers and of unbelievers,' in Sanscrit Aria, and Anaria. The herd of writers who servilely copy Ferdosi, pretend indeed that the name of Airan, is derived from Airaj, a son of Faridun :-but the whole story in which this is found is manifestly fabulous.

From the elevation of Dejoces to the throne of Persia until the Macedonian conquest, ihe political revolutions of Persia have been traced by the historians of Greece. The singular attempt of Richardson, to gain credit to the meagre and fabulous traditions of the modern Persians, in opposition to the clear and concurrent testimonies of nearly contemporaneous Greek writers, can only be regarded in the light of an ingenious paradox, destitute of any solid foundation. Yet the accounts of the Greeks, and the traditions of the Persians, appear at first sight completely at variance. Neither the series of events, nor the names of the actors, display the slightest coincidence; and the admission of the one appears virtually to banish the other to the regions of chimera. General Malcolm does not undertake the perilous task of reconciling the historians of the east and west. He admits that the Persians possess no documents that merit the name of history, antecedent to the fall of the Arsacidæ. Yet if we admit the lucid arrangement of facts, as digested by our author according to a system now proposed for the first time, we shall be able, in a very great number of instances, to refer the traditionary narratives of the eastern writers, to their actual prototypes in authentic history. It proceeds on this most allowable postu, latum, that little reliance is to be placed on similarity of name. Many of these names were probably titles; and it is obvious, that Herodotus, Ctesias, and Moses of Chorene all disagree in the names of the Persian monarchs. In preference, therefore, to this fallible criterion, we should assume similarity of character, person, or adventures. The exposure of a prince by his

« FöregåendeFortsätt »