THE present production is not offered to the world as a full discharge of the ample promise of inquiry which the title-page exhibits, but only as that instalment of it, than which no writer seems disposed to offer, and few readers prepared to welcome, a fuller. The classical and the oriental scholar will each complain that much has been omitted in his own department, the want of which he may per­haps be ready to excuse, in consideration of the ready insight he obtains into the other: and if either should feel that what to him is the foreign ingredient could not be more plentifully scattered without overpowering his willingness to deal with it, he will perceive at the same time, that what to him is the congenial one could not be augmented without carrying proportionate disadvantage to many of the opposite faction. The literatures here exhibited in friendly juxtaposition have heretofore been cultivated with such hostile views, that a work which should propound in order to reconcile the highest mysteries of both, it is a question, not only who should execute, but how many would be found to comprehend.

Let it not however from this be understood that the Translator lays claim to any profounder erudition than he has here put forth, or indeed to any greater acquirement than his professional education and pursuits will readily explain. The work has rather executed itself than been executed by him; every department has grown up from sug­gestions which some other department supplied; and for this very reason it is, that the result is presented with greater confidence, as the aggregate of parts indispensable became mutually dependent. When the Writer undertook to occupy his leisure residence in England by translating a curious, and, in the East, a celebrated work, he little knew the magnitude of the task before him, or he should have shrunk alike from the labour and the pre­tension it involved. The first is now over; and will never be regretted by him, if he is here suc­cessful in deprecating all imputations of the last.

In the text of the version, at least, no respon­sibility has been incurred; not even that of selection: omission, however desirable in particular instances, has been carefully avoided, as tending to lower the authority of the whole; a few sentences of vague panegyric have been curtailed, as the asterisks denote; names and titles have been shortened and compressed; and benedictions which, by one of the most pleasing of oriental usages, invariably follow the names of distinguished persons, have been limited to the few occasions where the reader can sympathize with their expression. In the con­clusion or epilogue of the work, which, for reasons, as there stated, applicable only to the people for whom it was composed, is of a fanciful and romantic cast, a few indifferent passages have been omitted, in order to relieve the tedium of that incongruous portion. With these trifling exceptions, the paraphrase is an exact counterpart of the original, even to the imitation of peculiarities, obscurities, and defects in style, — a fact which the reader is requested to bear in mind, as often as these present themselves to his remark.

The Notes have generally been drawn from direct reference to the originals referred to or transcribed; except in the case of an author, “quem fallere et effugere optimus est triumphus.” The quotations from Aristotle are taken only from Dr. Gillie’s translation of the Ethics. Much valuable infor­mation has been gained from other parts of the same work. Davis’s annotations on the Tusculan Disputations (Oxford, 1805,) have also afforded two or three important parallels. For the residue there is no boast in saying that the Writer is indebted solely to his own reading. Many of the most interesting references, (those to Galen and Hippocrates for instance,) after making several fruitless efforts to obtain access to the originals in the library of the British Museum, he laments to say he has been obliged to leave unauthenticated. But enough has been done to show how much more may be done by those who possess greater facilities for doing it.

A natural desire to cover the salient points of a literature that is little understood, and to enliven the course of discussions more addressed to the judgment than the taste, has led the Translator, in some instances, to enter upon debateable topics to a greater extent or a greater frequency than may prove agreeable to persons prepossessed with opinions of a different bent; — and if it should appear to these that the scale is sometimes inclined in favour of the absent party, when the evidence adduced is not decisive, let it be considered rather as a feint to promote inquiry, than as any deliberate defiance of received opinion. In most of these cases it will be found that, though judgment has been given, the issues were never fairly drawn; and to the advocates of a neglected cause it may be permitted to claim more than their due, where that is the only condition on which they will obtain as much.

It is to the Dissertation as well as to the Notes that these remarks are intended to apply. The questions opened in these speculative pleadings are often of vast and universal application. The familiarity with which they are approached need not be considered unbecoming in one of the élevés of Malthus and Mackintosh — the member of a pro­fession, conversant, beyond all others, with first principles, because having little else to go by. The slenderness of the materials from which they are sometimes raised need not be objected to in the present state of Eastern knowledge, the interests of which, for many years to come, boldness will more promote than caution. In the ruin of Empires we dig for treasures concealed. The first step is to mark every spot where search may be feasibly conducted: to prosecute the mass of inquiry, and determine how far the hastiness of all the sup­positions may be excused by the soundness of many, is the work of another and a later period.