Remarks on the Study of the Arabic Language: With Hints to Travellers in Mohammedan Countries, &c.
A Lover of the Arabic Language
Introduction / Letter
Travel, Ethnography, Epidemiology, Disease, Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Race, Philosophy, Exploration, Palaeontology
Aristotle , Mungo Park
Urges the value of travelling to Arabic-speaking countries for the purposes of learning the language, and gives advice about respecting social customs. Gives advice about avoiding disease, including the plague, dysentery, and ophthalmia. Observes: 'The respect paid in the East to European physicians has been long noticed; and every European is, to a certain extent, expected to act as a physician. It would therefore be important to one who was professedly preparing himself to travel, to possess himself of as much knowledge as possible, both of medicine and surgery' (106). Discusses the knowledge of Arabic of many 'Mohammedan Negroes'. Gives an extract from an Arabic book, copied by 'a Negro of the Foulah country', which betrays 'communication with the Aristotelian philosophy'. Sees this as evidence that 'the interior of Africa is in a different state from what is generally imagined' and that it is 'destined to have its period of light and knowledge in its turn'. (107) Urges the value of a knowledge of Arabic for African explorers. Highlights the apparent historical interconnections of India and Africa, including the apparent knowledge of Asiatic animal species in Egypt, concluding that '[o]bservations of this nature, like those on the fossil remains of animals, will probably end in some remarkable illustration of the early history of mankind' (108).
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