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not qualified to examine, and I am not disposed to believe, CHAP. their distant voyages to the Persian gulf, or the Cape of Good Hope: but their ancestors might equal the labours and success of the present race, and the sphere of their navigation might extend from the isles of Japan to the streights of Malacca, the pillars, if we may apply that name, of an Oriental Hercules. Without losing sight of land, they might sail along the coast to the extreme promontory of Achin, which is annually visited by ten or twelve ships laden with the productions, the manufactures, and even the artificers, of China; the island of Sumatra and the opposite peninsula, are faintly delineated as the regions of gold and silver; and the trading cities named in the geography of Ptolemy, may indicate, that this wealth was not solely derived from the mines. The direct interval between Sumatra and Ceylon is about three hundred leagues: the Chinese and Indian navigators were conducted by the flight of birds and periodical winds, and the ocean might be securely traversed in square-built ships, which, instead of iron, were sewed together with the strong thread of the cocoa-nut. Ceylon, Serendib, or Trapobana, was divided between two hostile princes; one of whom possessed the mountains, the elephants, and the luminous carbuncle, and the other enjoyed the more solid riches of domestic industry, foreign trade, and the capacious harbour of Trinquemale, which received and dismissed the fleets of the East and West. In this hospitable isle, at an equal distance (as it was computed) from their respective countries, the silk merchants of China, who had collected in their voyages aloes, cloves, nutmeg, and santal wood, maintained a free
70 For the Chinese navigation to Malacca and Achin, perhaps to Ceylon, see Renaudot (on the two Mahome an Travellers, p.8...11.13...17. 141...157.) Dampier (vol. ii. p. 136.) the Hist. Philosofinique des deux Indes (tom.i. p. 98.) and the Hist. Generales des Voyages (.om. vi. p. 201).
71 The knowledge, or rather ignorance, of Strab), Pliny, Ptoleniy, Arrian, Marcian, &c. of the countries eautivard of Cape Conorin, is finely illus rated by d'Anville (Antiquité Geographique de l'Inde, especially p. 161.. 198). Our geography of india is improved by commerce and conquest; and has been illustrated by the exculint naps and men irs of major Rennel. If he extends the sphere of nis inquiries with he same critical knowledge and sagacity, he will succecd, and may surpass the first of modern geographers.
and beneficial commerce with the inhabitants of the XL.
Persian gulf. The subjects of the great king exalted, without a rival, his power and magnificence; and the Roman, who confounded their vanity by comparing his paltry coin with a gold medal of the emperor Anastasius, had sailed to Ceylon, in an Æthiopian ship, as a simple
passenger.72 Introduc As silk became of indispensable use, the emperor tion of silkworms into Justinian saw, with concern, that the Persians had occuGreece.
pied by land and sea the monopoly of this important supply, and that the wealth of his subjects was continually drained by a nation of enemies and idolaters. An active government would have restored the trade of Egypt and the navigation of the Red Sea, which had decayed with the prosperity of the empire; and the Roman vessels might have sailed, for the purchase of silk, to the ports of Ceylon, of Malacca, or even of China. Justinian embraced a more humble expedient, and solicited the aid of his Christian allies, the Æthiopians of Abyssinia, who had recently acquired the arts of navigation, the spirit of trade, and the sea-port of Adulis,73 still decorated with the trophies of a Grecian conqueror. Along the African coast, they penetrated to the equator in search of gold, emeralds, and aromatics; but they wisely declined an unequal competition, in which they must be always prevented by the vicinity of the Persians to the markets of India; and the emperor submitted to the disappointment, till his wishes were gratified by an unexpected event. Che gospel had been preached to the Inciians: a bishop already governed the Christians of S: Thomas on the pepper-coast of Malalar: a church was planted in Ceylon, and the missionaries pursued the footsteps of
72 The Trapobane of Pliny (vi. 24). Solinus (c. 53.) and Salmas. liinian. Lercat. (p 781, 702.) and mosi of the ancients, who often confond the islands of Ceylon and Sumatra, is more clearly described by Cos. mnas Ind copleus €; ver even die Christian topographer has exaggerated its disensions. His information on the Indian and Chinese trade is rare and curious (1. ji p. 138. 1. xi. p. 337, 338. edit. Montfaucon).
73 See Procopius, Persic (1.ji. c. 20). Cosmas afords some in crest. ing kowledge of the portanci'inscription of Anulis (Topograph. Christ. l.ii.p. 133. 10...145.) and of the trade of the Azurites along the African c^a': of Barbaria or Zingi (p. 138, 139), and as far as Trapobane (l. xi. p. 332).
commerce to the extremities of Asia.74 Two Persian monks had long resided in China, perhaps in the royal city of Nankin, the seat of a monarch addicted to foreign superstitions, and who actually received an embassy from the isle of Ceylon. Amidst their pious occupations, they viewed with a curious eye the common dress of the Chinese, the manufactures of silk, and the myriads of silkworms, whose education (either.on trees or in houses) had once been considered as the labour of queens. They soon discovered that it was impracticable to transport the short-lived insect, but that in the eggs a numerous progeny might be preserved and multiplied in a distant climate. Religion or interest had more power over the Persian monks than the love of their country: after a long journey, they arrived at Constantinople,imparted their project to the emperor, and were liberally encouraged by the gifts and promises of Justinian. To the historians of that prince, a campaign at the foot of mount Caucasus has seemed more deserving of a minute relation than the labours of these missionaries of commerce, who again entered China, deceived a jealous people by concealing the eggs of the silk-worm in a hollow cane, and returned in triumph with the spoils of the East. Under their direction, the eggs were hatched at the proper season by the artificial heat of dung; the worms were fed with mulberry leaves; they lived and laboured in a foreign climate: a sufficient number of butterflies was saved to propagate the race, and trees were planted to supply the nourishmentof the rising generations. Experience and reflection corrected the errors of a new attempt, and the Sogdoite ambassadors acknowledged, in the succeeding reign, that the Romans were not inferior to the natives of China in the education of the insects, and the manufactures of silk,76 in which both China and Con
74 See the Christian missions in India, in Cosmas (1. iii. p. 178, 179. 1. xi. p. 357.) and consult Asse man. Bibliot. Orient (tom. iv. p. 413...548).
75 The invention, manufacture, and general use of silk in China, may be seen in (Duhalde Description Generale de la Chine, tom ii. p. 165. 205... 225). The province of Chehian is the most renowned boil forquantity and quality.
76 Procopius, I. viji. Gothic. iv. c. 17. Theophanes, Byzant. apud Phot. Cod.lxxxiv.p. 38. Zonaras, tom.i. l. xiv.p. 69. Pagi(tom.ii.p.602.) assigns to the year 552 this memorable importation. Meriander (in Excerpt.
CHAP. stantinople have been surpassed by the industry of modern
Europe. I am not insensible of the benefits of elegant luxury; yet I reflect with some pain, that if the importers of silk had introduced the art of printing, already practised by the Chinese, the comedies of Menander and the entire decads of Livy would have been perpetuated in the editions of the sixth century. A larger view of the globe might at least have promoted the improvement of speculative science, but the Christian geography was forcibly extracted from texts of scripture, and the study of nature was the surest symptom of an unbelieving mind. The orthodox faith confined the habitable world to one temperate zone, and represented the earth as an oblong surface, four hundred days journey in length, two hundred in breadth, encompassed by the ocean, and covered by the solid crystal
of the firmament.77 State of the IV. The subjects of Justinian were dissatisfied with
the times, and with the government. Europe was overrun by the Barbarians, and Asia by the monks : the poverty of the West discouraged the trade and manufactures of the East; the produce of labour was consumed by the unprofitable servants of the church, the state, and the army; and a rapid decrease was felt in the fixed and circulating capitals which constitute the national wealth. The public distress had been alleviated by the economy of Anastasius, and that prudent emperor accumulated an immense treasure while he delivered his people from the most odious or oppressive taxes. Their gratitude universally applauded the abolition of the gold of affliction,
Legat. p. 107.) mentions the admiration of the Sogdoites; and Theophylact Simocatta (1.vii.c. 9.) darkly represents the two rival kingdoms in (China) the country of silk.
77 Cosmas surnamed Indicopleustes, or the Indian navigator, performed his voyage about the year 522, and composed at Alexandria, between 535 and 457, Christian topography (Montfaucon, Præfat. c. 1.) in which he refutes the impious opinion, that the earth is a globe; and Photius had read this work (Cod. xxxvi. p. 9, 10.) which displays the prejudices of a mouk, with the knowledge of a merchant; the most valuable part has been given in French, and in Greek by Melchisedec Thevenot (Relations Curieusis, part i.) and the whole is since published in a splendid edition by the Pere Montfaucon (Nova Collectio Patrum, Paris 1707, 2 vols. in fol. tom. ii. p. 113...346). But the editor a theologian, inight blusin at not discovering the Nestorian heresy of Cosmas, which has been detected by la Croze (Christianisme des Indes,tom. i. p. 40...56).
a personal tribute on the industry of the poor, 78 but more intolerable, as it should seem, in the form than in the substance, since the flourishing city of Edessa paid only one hundred and forty pounds of gold, which was collected in four years from ten thousand artificers.79 such was the parsimony which supported this liberal disposition, that in a reign of twenty-seven years, Anastasius saved, from his annual revenue, the enormous sum of thirteen millions sterling, or three hundred and twenty thousand pounds of gold.80 His example was neglected, and his treasure was abused, by the nephew of Justin. The riches of Justinian were speedily exhausted by alms and buildings, by ambitious wars, and ignominious treaties. His revenues were found inadequate to his expenses. Every art was tried to extort from the people Avarice the gold and silver which he scattered with a lavish hand fusion of from Persia to France ;81 his reign was marked by the Justinian. vicissitudes, or rather by the combat, of rapaciousness and avarice, of splendour and poverty; he lived with the reputation of hidden treasures, 82 and bequeathed to his saccessor the payment of his debts.83 Such a character
78 Evagrius (1. iii. c. 39, 40.) is minute and grateful, but angry with Zosimus for caluinniating the great Constantine. In collecting all the bonds and records of the tax, the humanity of Anastasius was diligent and artful: fathers were sometimes compelled to prostitute their daughters (Zosim. Hist. I. ii. c. 38. p. 165, 166. Lipsiæ, 1784). Timotheus of Gaza chose such an event for the subject of a tragedy (Suidas, tom. iii. p. 475), which contribu:ed to the abolition of the tax (Cedrenus, p. 35.)... an happy instance (if it be true) of the use of the theatre.
79 See Jocua Stylites, in the Bibliotheca Orientalis of Asseman (tom. i.p. 168). This capitation tax is slightly mentioned in the Chronicle of Edessa.
80 Procopius (Anecdot. c. 19.) fixes this sum from the report of the treasurers themselves. Tiberius had vicies ter millies; but far diilerent was his empire fruin that of Anastasius.
81 Evagrius (1. iv. c. 30), in the next generation, was moderate and well informed ; and Zonaras (1. xiv c. 61), in the xith century, had read with care, and thought without prejudice: yet their colours are almost as black as those of the Anecdotes.
82 Procopius (Anecdot.c.30.) relates the idle conjectures of the times. The death of Justinian, says the secret historian, will expose his wealth or poverty. 83 See Ccrippus de Laudibus Justini Aug. 1. ii. 260, &c. 384, &c.
“ Plurima sunt vivo nimium neglecta parenti,
“ Unde tot exhaustus contraxit debita fiscus." Centenaries of gild were brought by strong arms into the hippodrome:
“ Debita genitoris persolvit, cauta recepit.” VOL. v.