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perverted to his purpose. That this has been every where the cafe, the fimple expofition of his evidences and of his conclufions fufficiently proves. On the other hand, the confequences which I had deduced from these and numberlefs fimilar records flow from them moft naturally and without constraint. We can scarce diffemble to ourselves, that the groundwork of all these traditions feems originally laid on the fame foundations with the Mofaical accounts, every circumstance of which is to be found in fome one or other of them. Even the proper names made use of by that author, although: changed in some nations by a vanity which appropriated to themfelves the supposed merit of prior antiquity, or adulterated to connect them with their abfurd mythology, appear without any alteration amongst those fimpler nations who have more fcrupulously preserved their antient traditions and genealogy. In one important point, the atteftation of a general deluge, all these scattered fragments concur with the whole general tenor of the history of man. We have already feen that this author, in a later publication, avows that its date cannot be carried with any probability higher than 3501 years before Chrift. The event itself, whether it happened a few centuries fooner or later, annihilates the whole fyftem of Mr.. de Buffon, which afferts the whole earth to have been in a state of. ignition, and that it has been gradually cooling in a series of many thousand years: whence he deduces the polar circles to have been. the firft poffible habitation of man, and that from thence all populaIi2 tion
tion proceeded. All the ingenious fubtleties of Mr. Bailly fail, as we have feen, to give the smallest fupport to this chimerical hypothefis, either from the traditions or history of man, however distorted to the purpose. On the contrary, all history shews us that the first appearance of great population was in fouth-western Afia and the fouthern countries moft contiguous to it; that from them, as from a centre, it was flowly spread to the nearest, and progreffively to more diftant regions; and that this extenfion happened so many ages after the date affigned by that author for the deluge, that there is thence great reafon to fufpect that it is by him removed several centuries beyond the truth; that at all times fince that period the northern parts both of Europe and Asia have been lefs cultivated and civilized, and confequently much less populous, than the southern. Our own knowledge affures us, that the former, though they have gained much in very recent times in all these refpects, by a greater intercourse with more polished nations, are yet, and are likely to continue feveral centuries, proportionably lefs populous than even the climate might permit, and that fear alone could have produced the idea that they at any time nourished an uncommon population. From no circumstance of tradition or hiftory can it therefore be inferred, that the north was the original feat of mankind fince the general deluge, or that, as Mr. Bailly contends, all population was derived from thence. From that great event, the only fact concurrently and invariably teftified by all those traditions to which Mr.
Bailly has had recourse, and the date of which they equally point out not to be very antient, the continued and connected traces every where discoverable of progreffive colonization from fouthern interior Afia give, on the contrary, the fairest and most unequivocal teftimonies that the renovation of mankind had there its commencement, and that population was thence flowly and gradually diffused both over the north and over every other part of the earth.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS
(a) Page 208.
WITHOUT reckoning an island Atlantis in the Gulph of Egina, not
far from Athens, there was also another island of that name between that of Euboea and the Locrian coaft, detached as the antients fuppofed from these contiguous lands by a great inundation; or rather this fpot remained in the ftreights when the island of Euboea itself was torn from Boeotia by the irruption of the lake of Theffaly, which according to Herodotus formerly covered the plains of this laft country. This ifland Atlantis was conquered by the Athenians, but was foon after funk and almoft entirely destroyed by an earthquake. Is it not this island which Plato, taking advantage of Egyptian tales, has tranfported beyond the ftreights of Gibraltar, in order to give us an ideal hiftory of felicity fpringing from virtue, and of punishment and misfortune confequent to corruption? It is true, one fees not how fuch an inland could conquer Libya; but the inhabitants of an island in the Atlantic ocean were not more likely to make war on Egypt or Athens. Wars in the western world, yet thinly inhabited, were, in the times we speak of, that is to say, about 3300 years ago, little more than the descents of reftlefs pirates who frequently changed their habitations, and made no long voyages, unless forced by storms beyond their knowledge. It is then much