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and other libraries throughout the kingdom. These analyses and extracts were to form the materials of a new selection to be published by the Academy. M. de Sacy applied himself to the examination of various Arabic and Persian works. Shortly after this he commenced his admirable memoirs on various antiquities of Persia. The sources of these memoirs were bas reliefs found near Persepolis and copied by Niebuhr, which had three inscriptions, one in Greek, and two in unknown characters ; bas reliefs, found on the frontiers of Kurdistan, and a numerous collection of medals. The unknown characters, were found to be in the Pehlvi and Zend languages, as well as the legends of the medals. These papers, four in number, were read at the Academy in 1787, 1788, 1790, and 1791, and we scarcely know which to adinire most in them,-extent of research, acuteness of discernment, or the importance of the conclusions. It is proper to notice the cautious spirit which animated M. de Sacy, during the whole course of his labors. This caution was so great, that when some words were not sufficiently distinct in the copies before him, he confined himself in this part of his labors to simple conjectures, which have in almost all cases been subsequently verified. These memoirs of M. de Sacy were published in 1793, in the height of the revolutionary paroxysm. As might have been expected, they produced at first but a slight sensation ; but when men's attention returned to pursuits so interesting, every one was struck with their merit, and they were by common consent ranked among the noblest monuments of French erudition.
Meanwhile M. de Sacy continued his biblical labors, and composed a memoir on the Arabic version of the books of Moses in use among the Samaritans, and on the known manuscripts of this translation. He might now, in his thirtysecond year, be considered a scholar of the first order ; while his position in society was a highly honorable one. In 1791, he was named by the king, one of the commissioners general of the inint ; and the following year a vacancy occurring among the titular members of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres, he was elected by a majority of votes.
But the revolution had now taken a direction which threatened all orders of society; France in particular, was on the eve of a total subversion. M. de Sacy, although the father
of a family, and far from affluent, threw up all his public employments. In June 1792, he resigned his office at the mint; and as the Academy of Inscriptions as well as other learned and literary bodies, soon sunk below the revolutionary level, he found himself condemned to live in strict retirement. It was perhaps this retirement which saved him. With his decided and inflexible character, he would have been more exposed than most men to the fury of the tyrants, who oppressed France. M. de Sacy withdrew with his family to a small country house, some leagues from the capital, where he divided his time between his literary labor and the cultivation of his garden; and he might be seen by turns, wielding the pen and dressing his trees,—engaged in the most arduous studies, and attending to the produce of his field. His literary researches, however obliged him to visit the capital weekly ; and it was in fact, under these melancholy circumstances that he was engaged in publishing his memoirs on the antiquities of Persia. They had been intended for the collection of the Academy of Inscriptions ; but that academy no longer existed. M. de Sacy used to walk from his house in the country to Paris, with a stick in his hand, and a bottle of beer in his pocket to quench his thirst.
The neighboring peasants, though at the time much excited, were not unmindful of his greatness. On Sundays and festivals, the churches being shut, M. de Sacy had mass publicly celebrated in his house. Penalties of extreme severity were affixed to the violation the laws of the day ; but no one sought to molest M. de Sacy. Once he was required, for the ascendant regime took pleasure in sporting with the liberties of the citizen, to go and thresh corn in the barn, along with the peasants of the district. The peasants who had learned to know him, remonstrated in his favor ; they represented that, from his diminutive stature, and the weakness of his sight, he would be more a hindrance than a help,” and offered to perform bis part of the task themselves.
M. de Sacy employed his leisure moments principally, in his great work, on the Religious System of the Druses. It is known that the Druses still form a pretty numerous population on the heights of Libanus. They profess peculiar doctrines, which resemble the creed propagated in Persia and the East generally during the first centuries of our era, and only began to form a regular system about the end of the
. tenth century. The first who systematized these doctrines was a sectary named Hamsa, aided by his disciple Moctana. The principal article of faith, consisted in the belief that the Divinity had become incarnate in the person of Hakem, and that the Universal Intelligence, which contains in itself all doctrines and religious truth, had manifested itself under the aspect of Hamsa. In 1700, a Syrian physician visited France, and presented to Louis XIV. four volumes in Arabic which contained a great part of these doctrines. M. de Sacy translated this work, and accompanied his version with that of various passages from Arabic authors relating to the Druses. Owing to the confused state of the materials, and the supposed existence of other similar treatises yet untranslated, in the library at Oxford, and other libraries of Europe he judged it advisable to defer the publication of a work, which had served to engage his mind in those unhappy times.
But the spirit of violence, which had marked the rule of terror, had begun to subside ; and men seemed anxious to return to those labors, which have contributed so much to the honors of France. On the 2d of April, 1795, a decree of the Convention established at the Royal, (or as it was then called the National) Library, a public school for teaching living oriental languages of acknowledged utility in commerce and politics. M. de Sacy from the beginning, was appointed the Professor of Arabic, and the Persian chair was then conferred on M. Langles.
Hitherto, M. de Sacy had been contented, like all the orientalists of his time, with a comparatively superficial acquaintance with Arabic. But on being appointed Professor, he felt the necessity of a thorough mastery of the genius and idiomatical peculiarities of the language. Besides an article of the conventional decree enjoined professors to compile in French, a grammar of the language it was their duty to teach, and M. de Sacy was not a man who could be satisfied with merely repeating what had been said before. The treatises on this subject, which were in common use, that of Erpenius and those of Catholic Missionaries in the Levant, proving imperfect or unsuited for profound inquiries, he was obliged to have recourse to the works of native grammarians. So complicated is their system, and so peculiar their style and language, that even the orientals are obliged to make it an object of especial study in order to acquire familiarity with
it, and but few of them even attain a complete knowledge of it. Yet M. de Sacy, to bring this literature within the reach of Europeans, succeeded in gaining such a familiarity with the system as perhaps no Arab of this age has attained.
At the same time he devoted himself to the regular study of universal grammar. In 1799, he published the edition of his Principles of General Grammar. This edition was a mere abstract of what he had found most simple in the general grammars of Mess. Port Royal, and of Beauzee, and in the universal grammar of Count de Gebelin. But in the second edition which appeared in 1804, M. de Sacy, who had had time to mature his ideas, made a nearer approach to principles. This work has been considered at once so learned and so simple, that it is still used in several primary schools. *
A law of the 25th Oct. 1795, had re-established the old academies on a new basis. The single body, which was to represent them all, was divided into three classes, and bore the name of the National Institute. M. de Sacy was admitted from the first into the class of literature and the fine arts. But at this period the government required of every person clothed with any title whatever, to take what was termed the oath of hatred to royalty. M. de Sacy refused to take the oath, and before the installation of the new body, sent in his resignation. But he was at the same time professor of Arabic, and it was not long before he was called upon to take the oath for this office. He declared that he would not take it, but that he would continue to give lectures until the appointment of his successor. It was no easy matter to find a substitute, and he was left unmolested. At length the Institute having been reorganized in 1803, and the Academy of Inscriptions having been re-established under the title of Class of Ancient History and Literature, M. de Sacy resumed his former place.
Some scholars had, at different periods, expressed the opinion, that there existed in the archives of Genoa, oriental works of the highest importance, manuscripts accumulated
* 1 third edition appeared in 1815. The title is, Principes de Grammaire Generale mis a la portee des enfans, et propres a servir d' introduction a l' etude de toutes les langues. Paris, 1 vol. 12 mo. The first edition was translated into Danish, the second into German, and the third into English, and published in the United States.
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while the Genoese republic had been mistress of the Mediterranean and the adjacent seas, which might throw light on the history of the middle ages. In 1805, while Genoa was dependent on France, M. de Sacy was deputed by the Imperial government to examine those literary treasures. This was the first and last time in which he was separated from his family. With his studies and domestic habits, he was not fond of leaving home. During the rest of his life, his journeys were contined to an occasional visit to the country, in company with his family, a few leagues from the capital, and this was generally less for relaxation, than for more uninterrupted study.
M. de Sacy did not find at Genoa, the manuscripts which had been referred to. Either they had never existed, or had perished amid the distraction, to which the republic had more than once been a prey. He took notes however, of a great many documents important to the history of the government and commerce of the republic in the middle ages. On his return to Paris, in 1806, he made a report to the academy on the various documents, and at a later period published some of them entire.
In the same year appeared, under the title of Chrestomathie Arabe, a selection from various Arabian writers both in prose and verse, with a French translation and notes. This work, in 3 vols. 8vo, was the first fruits of his labors as professor of Arabic. The work fulfilled the object he had in view, and, while it was especially intended for the use of the pupils of the School of Oriental Languages, it was soon adopted in all the universities, both at home and abroad, where the same studies were cultivated.
In 1808 M. de Sacy was elected by the department of the Seine, a member of the Legislative body. In 1810 appeared the first edition of the Arabic Grammar, in two large volumes 8vo. the fruit of fifteen years researches and meditation. This grammar is the most learned and methodical view of the Arabic language, that has yet appeared in Europe, and is a very remarkable specimen of grammatical analysis. In the same year M. de Sacy published a French translation of an Arabic account of Egypt, accompanied by notes. The author of this was a physician of Bagdad, named Abd-allatif who visited Egypt under the reign of the great Saladin, and later under his brother Malek-Adel. Versed in the natural