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It is only necessary to mention the names of WEIL, of CAUSSIN DE PERCIVAL, arid of SPRENGER,—and very many more might be adduced,—to call up to recollection the depth of study, philosophy, and Oriental learning which have been brought to bear upon the subject. Some portions of these labours have already been cursorily reviewed in this journal. But they deserve, and will we trust yet receive, a far deeper and more extended survey. The task is one to which an Indian periodical may well be devoted. The facilities for the study are, probably, greater here than in any other part of the world; and the discovery by Sprenger of the invaluable WÂCKIDI, gives promise of, perhaps, still further treasures purchased from the West at some remote period by the riches of Indian conquerors and Ameers, being still extant in the land. However, if the exertions of Sprenger had resulted only in bringing Wâckidi to the light, he had deserved, for that task alone, the gratitude of all the lovers of Mohammed's biography.1

But our labours must not dissipate in literary phantoms, in the mere charms of antiquarian research, or even in the substantial acquisition of remote historical truths. Dear as these are to us, they are but baubles in themselves. It is because they bear upon the faith and the superstitions of millions of Mohammedans about us, that these investigations are possessed of an unspeakable value and importance.

Hitherto, we have been able to address the Moslem only in the language of the West; we have told him of the disquisitions of Maracci and of Prideaux, and he has looked with contemptuous incredulity upon our words. In truth, he might well do so: for they are but poor authorities, who ventured with no tempered weapons into the momentous strife. They were possessed neither of the native records, nor of the cool

1 [This same copy of Wâckidi was given to me by its possessor after the Mutiny. It was transcribed at Damascus A. H. 973 (A.D. 1318); the chain of copyists attesting its accuracy runs up to the Secretary of Wâckidi himself. I have placed it in the India Office library. It is worth inspecting for the beauty of its antique writing. A beautiful copy of the same has also been deposited in the Edinburgh University library. —W. M.]


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