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the most ancient of the sciences. He therefore entered with great ardour on the study of the Eastern astronomy; on the exposition of its principles, and on the examination and defence of its accuracy; displaying, in all this, the usual resources of his ingenuity, his knowledge, and his eloquence.
A more minute examination, however, instituted by our countrymen on the spot, led them to doubt of the pretensions to high antiquity that they found in the Astronomical Books of the Hindus, and enabled them to detect errors into which the French astronomer had been betrayed, sometimes from the want of local knowledge, oftener froin too much confidence in his informers, and occasionally, no doubt, from that spirit of system from which the men of greatest ardour and genius find it most difficult to defend themselves. The tide of opinion now began to set the contrary way; the recentness, and the inaccuracy of the Indian tables, were maintained no less keenly, and by much more objectionable reasonings than their antiquity and correctness had formerly been.
Among those who have lately taken up this argument, one of the most learned and skilful astronomers in Europe, M. DeLAMBRE, is particularly distinguished. In a work just published, I he has made an elaborate attack on the facts, the reasonings, and the calculations of the Astronomie Orientale, and has treated the author with a severity and harshness to which, from a brother academician, the memory of BAILLY should hardly have been exposed. His main argument is drawn from this fact, that the Data are nowhere quoted, from which the Indian tables were computed, and that there is no record, nor even any tradition of regular astronomical observations having been made by the Hindus. The truth of this assertion, as far as our present information goes, cannot be denied, and is certainly not very easy to be reconcilerl with the supposition that the Indian astronomy is as original and as antient as it pretends to be. Yet, as to the originality, there is still something to be said ; and it has the more weight, from the originality of the Indian Algebra being rendered so very evident by the facts that we have been considering. This analysis, from all the light that history affords, could not be derived from Greece ; at least it can have received from thence
| Histoire de l'Astronomie Ancienne, Tom. I. p. 400, &c.
* Mr COLEBROOKE, after demonstrating the excellence of this algebra, and comparing its more perfect algorithm and its superior advancement with the Greek algebra, as explained in the work of Diophantus, seems nevertheless willing to admit, that some communone of the most improved and refined methods which it contains. In the earliest stage in which we discover it, it was already in possession of very high attainments, such as were not exceeded till very late in the history of European discovery. India itself, in the lapse of more than a thousand years, has added but very little to the perfection of this analysis. From whom then did that analysis derive its origin? if it be not an indigenous production of India, nothing remains but to conclude, agreeably to what we suggested, when much more imperfectly informed concerning the history of the Indian science, that what we now see is a fragment, or a derivation from a system that is lost--the remains of a light once more widely diffused, at the period when the Sanscrit was a living language, or when some parent language, still more ancient, sent forth those roots which have struck with more or less firmness into the dialects of so many and such remote nations, both of the East and of the West. + If this conclusion, to which we are almost unavoidably led, be admitted, it will serve to explain the history of the Eastern Astronomy and its existence, as a wreck which has survived the memory of its authors--of those who made the observations on which it is founded, and supplied perhaps by diligence and length of time, the imperfection of the instruments they employed.
Those who, like DELAMBRE, are disposed to think lightly of the Indian Algebra and Arithmetic, will not admit the probability of this result. That mathematician, however, when he treated this subject, knew only the Lilavati; and probably, after seeing the Vija Ganita, and the treatises of BRAHMEGUPTA in Mr COLEBROOKE's translation, he will think of the matter somewhat differently, and will acknowledge, that India possesses a large portion of mathematical science, which it has neither derived from Arabia nor Greece.
We cannot conclude these remarks, without again adverting
nication about the time of the last mentioned author, may
have come from Greece to India, on the subject of the Algebraic Analysis. Of this we are inclined to doubt; for this simple reason, that the Greeks had nothing to give on that subject which it was worth the while of the Indians to receive. Mr COLEBROOKE seems inclined to this concession, by the strength of a philological argument, of the force of which we are perhaps not sufficiently sensible. It seems however certain, that the facts in the history of Algebraic Analysis, raken by themselves, give no countenance to the supposition. + Edinburgh Review, vol. xxi. p. 376.
to the great obligations under which Mr COLEBROOKE has laid the learned and scientific world by this translation, and the dissertations which accompany it. The translation, indeed, must itself be considered as a work of singular difficulty, being not only made from one language into another, so perfectly dissimilar in its genius and structure, but from scientific treatises written in verse, and attempting, therefore, to combine the two applications of speech the most distant from one another, and the most impossible to be united, without involving both in obscurity almost impenetrable. These difficulties have been most completely overcome, and no obscurity lett, but such as is essential to the genius and style of Oriental science.
We are sure that, in the praise we now bestow, we are only anticipating a judgment which will be soon more emphatically pronounced. We would, at the same time, remind Mr COLEBROOKE, and others of our countrymen, who, like Dr TAYLOR, are in possession of the double key that can alone unlock the repositories of Eastern science, that though they have done much, there is something still that remains to be accomplished, and that a translation of the Suryah Siddhanta, or other of the astronomical works of the Hindus, would complete the series of valuable gifts which they have already presented to the learned world.
Art. VIII. A Sketch of the Military and Political Porcer of Rus
sia, in the Year 1817. 8vo. pp. 223. London, Ridgeway, 1817.
Wilson; and as it contains very serious charges against the ministers of England, for their ignorance and improvidence in the management of her most important affairs, the first step taken by the adherents of the Treasury, upon its appearance, was to blacken the character of its supposed author, by every species of malignant abuse. He, whose former publications respecting Buonaparte, and the campaigns in Egypt and Poland, had made him the idol of those base creatures,—who had been exalted by their mercenary adoration far above his merit, eminent as it was,-no sooner became the witness and the historian of the misconduct of their employers,-no sooner found himself compelled to detail unpleasing truths, than all their venal throats were at once strained to revile and degrade him. Morning and evening, for weeks, the ministerial press poured forth the most atrocious calumnies against his reputation, trusting for safety to that contempt which publick men perhaps carry too far, especially those who maintain the right of unfettered discussion, and which, not being imitated by statesmen of another description, has almost given the friends of absolute power a monopoly of slander, and placed the characters of the community at the mercy of the Government, through the agency of its emissaries. By this attack upon the gallant general, two purposes were aimed at;-the destruction of a powerful adversary,-or, what was next thing to it, a justification for whatever might be done to crush him in his military career,--and such an injury to his character as might destroy the weight of his testimony against the misconduct of the ministers. In the mean time, the men whose agents disseminated the slanders, lurked secure in the back ground, ready to disavow all that was done, as soon as it might be exposed; and equally ready to profit by the effects which unhappily even the foulest slander scarcely ever fails to produce for a season. How strikingly does this passage in the history of our military affairs display the advantages which the Army derives from being administered by an Illustrious Personage, removed far above the grosser atmosphere of ministerial intrigue and cabal!:
For our own parts, we have frequently had occasion to speak of Sir Robert Wilson ; and, even when we felt obliged to express most strongly our dissent from his opinions, and indeed our disapprobation of some of his proceedings, * we were always ready to acknowledge his excellent qualities; to applaud his chivalrous zeal, and truly soldierlike frankness, and to join in the praises of that heroism-activity-skill--and fertiliiy of resources, which all Europe has witnessed and admired, and which have obtained for him the fame of the most eminent partisan of the day. His merits, as an author, we were equally disposed to admit, with the large allowances which an author brought up in camps has always a right to expect. The opinion which we then entertained of him has not been materially changed, except in so far as time has given him new opportunities of increasing his fame, and of attracting admiration, by the singular generosity of bis conduct in a peculiarly interesting and difficult situation. In consequence, however, of the tor
* We allude to his publishing the statements respecting Buonaparte, at a tiine when he could not disclose the rounds of them. Lnexpected events have since proved that many of those statements viere correct.
rents of abuse to which he has lately been exposed, we shall preface our account of his work, now before us, with some notice of the testimonies borne to his military character by the very highest authorities.
Since the campaigns in Egypt and Poland, when we last had occasion to make mention of him, he has served in the Peninsular war, and in the memorable campaigns in Russia, Germany, and Italy, which led to the overthrow of Buonaparte's dynasty. To the extraordinary promptitude and success with which he raised and disciplined the Lusitanian legion, all the civil and military authorities in Portugal have borne ample testimony. The formation of this corps, and its gallant exploits under his command in Spain, laid the foundation of the important measure of arming the Portuguese, to which so much of the success in the war is justly ascribed. Of his movements with it in the field, the best account may be found in the intercepted despatches of the French commanders, who complain of its meeting them wherever they marched, and always speak of it as much more numerous than it ever was. But we pass on to the Russian campaign. By the documents which were given in evidence at his trial for the affair of Lavalette's escape, it is evident that no man in the British army ever acquired higher renown, among the warriors of all nations, than this truly gallant officer. Lord Cathcart, our embassador with the Emperor Alexander, describes him, in his despatches in November 1812, as having been in every action, and having seen every remarkable occurrence.' And in November 1813, he again says, that it has been the
constant practice of the Major-General, (Sir Robert Wilson), • throughout this and the last campaign, to accompany every • attack of consequence that has taken place within his reach.'« On this occasion (adds his Lordship) he was with one of the • storming parties; and in adverting to this circumstance, it is • but justice to this officer to state, that the zeal, activity, and • intrepidity which he has displayed on every occasion, have O conciliated for him the esteem of all officers of every rank and • nation who have been witnesses of them, and have certainly • done great credit to his Majesty's service.' In a subsequent letter, his Lordship acknowledges the signal services rendered by Sir Robert in a political capacity; and ascribes, if we rightly understand the letter of January 1813, the failure of the negociations with the enemy in a great measure to his interposition. The following is the account given by Sir Charles (now Lord) Stewart, in his despatch to Lord Castlereagh, of the manner in which the Emperor Alexander expressed his approbation of Sir R. Wilson's services in presence of the Allied