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nation. The fourth class is composed of the children of women whose mothers were Afghans, and fathers and husbands of a different nation. Persons, who do not belong to one of these classes, are not called Afghans.
“ After the death of sultan Mahmud, they made another settlement in the mountains. Shihabuddin Gauri, a subsequent sultan of Gaznah, was twice repulsed from Hindustan. His Vazir assembled the people, and asked if any of the posterity of Khalid were living. They answered, Many now live in a state of independence in the mountains, where they have a considerable army. The Vazir requested them to go to the mountains, and by intreaties prevail on the Afghans to come ; for they were descendants of companions of the prophet...
“ The inhabitants of Ghaznah undertook this embassy; and, by intreaties and presents, conciliated the minds of the Afghans, who promised to engage in the service of the sultan, provided he would come himself and enter into an agreement with them. The sultan visited them in their mountains, honoured them, and gave them dresses and other presents. They supplied him with 12,000 horse, and a considerable army of infantry. Being dispatched by the sultan before his own army, they took Dehli; killed Roy Patoura the king, his ministers, and nobles ; laid waste the city; and made the infidels prisoners. They afterwards exhibited nearly the same scene in Canauj..
“The sultan, pleased by the reduction of those cities, conferred honours 'upon the Afghans. It is said, that he then gave them the titles of Patan and Khan. The word Patan is derived from the Hindi verb Paitna, to rush, in allusion to their alacrity in attacking the enemy. The Patans have greatly distinguished themselves in the history of Hindustan, and are divided into a variety of sects.
“ The race of Afghans possessed themselves of the mountain of Solomon, which is near Kandahar, and the circumjacent country, where they have built forts. This tribe has furnished many kings. The following monarchs of this race have set upon the throne of Dehli : sultan Behlole, Afghan Lodi, sultan Secander, sultan Ibrahim, Shir Shah, Islam Shah, Adil Shah Sur. They also number the following kings of Gaur : Solaiman Shah Gurzani, Bayazid Shah, and Kutb Shah; besides whom their nation has produced many conquerors of provinces. The Afghans are called Solaimani ; either because they were formerly the subjects of Solomon king of the Jews, or because they inhabit the mountain of Solomon *.”
It must be confessed, that this Afghan tradition bears a strong resemblance to many of those Mohammedan legends, which are founded upon Scripture; whence it is certainly not impossible, that a tribe of Mussulmans might be in possession of it without being descended from the house of Israel: yet I know not whether another instance can be produced of a nation, which professes the faith of Mohammed, believing itself to be of Jewish origin. It is easy to account for a tradition, which corresponds with Scripture, being in the hands of Mohammedans :, but it is not quite so easy to account for the circumstance of those Mohammedans claiming a Hebrew descent, unless we allow the validity of that claim. There are some points respecting them, in which Mr. Vansittart and Sir William Jones do not perfectly agree. The for-mer observes, that “they are great boasters of the antiquity of their origin, and reputation of their tribe ; but that other Mussulmans entirely reject their claim, and consider them of modern and even base extraction.” The latter, on the contrary, who is not wont to throw out assertions at random, adds the following note to the tradition; whence it appears, that he was not disinclined to admit their claim. “This account of the Afghans may lead to a very interesting discovery. We learn from Esdras, that the ten tribes, after a wandering journey, came to a country called Arsareth ; where, we may suppose, they settled t. Now the Afghans are said, by the best Persian historians, to be descended from the Jews.; they have traditions among themselves of such a descent; and it is even asserted, that their families are distinguished by the names of Jewish tribes, although, since their conversion to the Islam, they studiously conceal their
* Asiatic Researches, Vol. 11. Numb. 4. + 2 Esdras xiii. 40–47.
origin. The Pushto language, of which I have seen a dictionary, has a manisest resemblance to the Chaldaic; and a considerable district under their dominion is called Hazareh or Hazaret, which might easily have been changed into the word used by Esdras. I strongly re. commend an inquiry into the literature and history of the
Afghans.” . From this interesting note of that great linguist we
learn four very curious particulars, relative to the Afphans : 1. that they have a tradition among themselves, that they are of Jewish origin, although not very forward to acknowledge their descent; 2. that this is not a mere vague tradition, known only to themselves and ridiculed by their neighbours, but that the best Persian historians, with whose empire they have always been connected *, assert the very same ; 3. that a considerable district under their dominion is to this day called Hazaret, a word nearly resembling Arsareth, which (according to the apocryphal Esdras, whoever he might be, and at whatever period he might live t) was the name of the country into which the ten tribes retired; 4. and that their language has a manifest resemblance to the Chaldaic.
Though I would not implicitly depend upon popular tradition, yet neither .would I entirely reject it. In the present case however it is so remarkably supported, that we can scarcely refrain from giving it some degree of credit. The best Persian historians sanction the popular belief of the Afghans and, what has always been allowed to be one of the strongest proofs of national descent and relationship, their language manifestly resembles the Chaldaic. In mentioning Arsareth as the country to which the ten tribes retired, the apocryphal Esdras probably alluded to a tradition respecting the fate of their brethren at that time familiar to the Jews : and we find, that a large part of the country of the Afghans, who believe themselves to be of Hebrew origin, and whose belief is at once corroborated by the best historians of Persia and by the cir
* "the Afghans ; a tribe, at different times subject to and always connected with the kingdoms of Persia and Hindustan.” Mr. Vansittart's let. ter to Sir William Jones.
+ The reader will find the different opinions respecting the author of the second book of Esdras detailed in Dr. Gray's Key to the Old Testament.
cumstance of their language being a branch of the Chaldaic, is even to this day called Hazaret. The reader has now the evidence before him, and must judge for himself, whether the claim of the Afghans is to be allowed or rejected. But, whatever be its fate, the prophecies respecting the distinct restoration of Israel remain unaffected, and will surely be accomplished.
oplished. Before I entirely quit this part of my subject, I shall notice a coincidence, which is at least curious, if it deserve no better epithet. St. John tells us, that the sixth vial of God's wrath will be poured upon the river Euphrates, the waters of which will in consequence of it be dried up, in order that a way may be prepared for the kings who are from the rising of the sun. Mr. Mede supposes, and (arguing from the analogy of language used in the Apocalypse) I think, incontrovertibly, that the exhaustion of the Euphrates means the subversion of the Ottoman empire : and he farther conjectures, that the kings, for whom this event is to prepare a way, are the Jews. Had he said the Israelites *, he would perhaps have expressed himself with greater accuracy : for, if the passage do at all allude to the restoration of the house of Jacob, it relates more probably to that of the ten tribes, than to that of Judah. But why should either the Israelites or the Jews be styled kings ? Such a title accords very ill with the present condition of the Jews, and still worse with that of the Israelites, if they be so entirely lost and swallowed up, as some have imagined. Mr. Mede does not attempt to solve this difficulty. If however it should eventually prove that the Afghans are really the remains of the ten tribes, and if St. John speak of the restoration of those ten tribes under the name of kings from the east, we shall immediately perceive the singularly exact propriety with which he styles them kings. The whole race of the Afghans, as we have seen from the preceding account of them, denominate themselves even to the pre
* Mr. Mede does at first indeed say Israelites, but he ever after speaks only of Jews (See Comment. Apoc. in loc.) I expressed myself with equal inaccuracy, when treating of the same subject in the first edition of my Dissert. on the 1260 years. The fact was, I had at that time indolently acquiesced in the commonly received opinion, as stated by Bp. Newton, that the ten tribes would only be restored conjointly with and included in the tribe of Judah.
sent day, in their Chaldaic dialect, Melic, or with the plural termination Melchim, in Eliglish, kings. They consider themselves as a royal nation ; and, according to their own tradition, claim their title of Melic from a grant of Mohammed whose religion they profess. If then they be of Hebrew extraction, the drying up of the mystic Euphrates, or the subversion of the Ottoman empire, would undoubtedly prepare a way for them both naturally and morally. A power would be removed, whose dominions now stretch between Persia and Palestine ; and one great branch of that false, religion, by which the Afghans are at present deluded, would be broken off. According to Mr. Vansittart, the sects of the Afghans are very numerous; and they appear to be a nation formidable at once for its population, and for its bravery. “Their character may be collected from history. They have distinguished themselves by their courage, both singly and unitedly, as principals and auxiliaries. They have conquered for their own princes and for foreigners, and have always been considered the main strength of the army in which they have served *.”
I have stated, that the restoration of Judah will commence at the close of the 1260 years, and have intimated it to be probable that it will not be completely effected till a period of 30 additional years shall likewise have ex
* Besides these Mohammedan Israelites, if indeed the Afghans be Israelites, it appears, that there are in the East many of the same ancient stock of Jacob. " There is reason to believe," says Mr. Buchanan, “that scriptural records, older than the apostolical, exist on the coast of Malabar. At Cochin there is a colony of Jews, who retain the tradition that they arrived in India soon after the Babylonian captivity. There are in that province two classes of Jews, the white and the black Jews. The black Jews are those, who are supposed to have arrived at that early period. The white Jews emigrated from Europe in later ages. What seems to countenance the tradition of the black Jews is, that they have copies of those books of the Old Testament which were written previously to the captivity, but none of those whose dates are subsequent to that event-The latest information respecting them is contained in a letter lately received from a learned missionary in the south of the peninsula, who had resided for some time in the vicinity of Cochin. He states, that he had constantly been informed that the Jews at Cochin had those books only of the Old Testament which were written before the Babylonian captivity; and that thence it is generally believed by the Christians of the Decan, that they had come to India soon after that event. He adds, that the M.S. was on a material resembling paper, in the form of a roll; and that the character had a strong resemblance to Hebrew, if not Hebrew.” (Memoir of an eccles. establishment for British India, p. 117, 118.) Are we to esteem these people Jews, or a remnant of the ten tribes?