Brookes’ Universal Gazetteer, page 57
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AS1    57    ASL

Hebrews, Indians, and Tartars, the propriety of
which will appear from their make, features, and
languages. There are, however, some large tribes
which cannot be referred to any of these classes.
Mr. Pinkerton observes that the population of
Asia is allowed by all authors to be wholly primi-
tive, with the exception of the Tshuktshis (whom
the Russian historians suppose to have passed
from the opposite coast of America), the colonies
that have migrated from Russia to the northern
arts as far as the sea of Kamtschatka, the well-
nown European settlements, and a few others.
Asia certainly contains a decidedly original popu-
lation, and presents an ample field for the study
of man in all the stages of his progress from bar-
barism to civilization. The western part of Asia
appears to have been occupied by numerous pet-
ty sovereignties, whose very names are now ex-
tinct. At a somewhat later period the Babylon-
ian empire extended over the greater part of West-
ern Asia; the Persians next reigned paramount
on that side, 328 years before the Christian era;
Alexander of Macedon extended his arms as far
as the Ganges; but his exploits in Asia may be
considered as incursions rather than conquests.

The ascendancy of the Persians in its turn
yielded to the still greater ascendant influence
and power of the Tartars from the north, who also
in the 12th century subdued China in the east;
and indeed such was the extent of their power,
that at one period nearly the whole of Asia as
well as a great part of Europe fell under their
dominion.

The Mogul empire succeeded the Tartar, whilst
the greater part of Eastern Tartary became uni-
ted to China, which for several centuries has re-
mained comparatively undisturbed; but at the
present time, a company of English traders, un-
der the denomination of “The United Company
of Merchants of England trading to the East
Indies,” may be regarded as the ascendant power,
and as reigning lords paramount over all Asia.
The Russians however occupy the whole of the
north of Asia, from the Arctic Sea to the 50th
degree of north latitude ; and it will probably
be their turn next to rule the S. as well as the N

The productions of Asia, animal, mineral, vege-
table, as well as birds, insects, reptiles, and fishes,
are as majestic, valuable, and useful, as they are
various and infinite. The elephant in Asia, like
the camel in Africa, is made the instrument of
burthen, and in war and pageantry ranks highest
in importance ; the lion and tiger of Asia are the
noblest of their species, and as distinguished for
their beauty and their symmetry as for their agil-
ity, strength, and ferocity. The leopard inhabits
eastern and southern Asia and in rapidity and
agility of motion is unrivalled by any other ani-
mal. He has a restless eye and a sinister


countenance, and is remarkably distinguished by
the beauty of his hide, covered with brilliant
spots. He lurks for his prey in ambush, or pur-


sues it up the trees. Usually he shuns man, but
when closely pressed, he turns upon the hunter
and sometimes when pinched by hunger he will
attack unprovoked, though by stealth, the human
race. The inferior classes of the animal creation
will b’e more particularly adverted to under the
heads of the several divisions of Asia. Although
apparently not so rich in precious minerals as the
southern division of theggvestern hemisphere,
Asia indicates abundance ofgold, and some silver,
and its gems are deservedly held in the highest
estimation. Of the inferior metals, if they
abound, a subduing species of policy precludes
their preparation for utility, and Asia draws con-
siderable supplies of iron, copper, tin, and lead
from Europe.    ,

Rice for food, and cotton for clothing, are the
main productions of the soil over all the south
parts of Asia and China, and in the latter coun- ;
try, a decoction of the well known tea shrub,
constitutes the principal drink of that populous
empire, whilst the vegetable tallow tree supplies
many of their domestic wants.

Mahomedism is established in the central and
western parts, while paganism, and the most de-
grading and cruel superstitions, prevail in all the
other regions of Asia. Christianity is scarcely
known throughout this part of the globe, except
in Siberia and in Greece, where the profession
of it has been perpetuated amidst cruelty ‘and
oppression;—nor have any adequate exertions
been made by Europeans for its introduction, the
small tract of India brought under cultivation by
our missionaries being only as a single oasis in a
vast and dreary desert.

The governments of Asia appear in all ages to
have been arbitrary and despotic in the extreme ;
much addicted to parade and pageantry, and that
to a degree of which Europe has exhibited no
parallel. The government of China, although in
name and form a complete despotism, appears
however to be administered not only with temper-
ance, but with a paternal solicitude for the wel-
fare of the great body of the people, who may
yet at the same time be ranked amongst the most
abject of the human race. The ascendancy of
the English at the close of the 18th and com-
mencement of the 19th century is unquestiona-
bly the most important era in the history of Asia;
and, although much that is objectionable and rep-
rehensible prevails, in some respects it indicates
brighter and better prospects to Asia than it has
ever before experienced.

Asia Minor comprehends that part of west-
ern Asia under the dominion of the Turks, bor
dering north on the Black Sea, and soutlMon the
Levant, including the provinces of
Natolia, Cara
mania,
and Roum, which see.

Asiago, a considerable town of Italy, in Vicen-
tino, 20 m. N. of Vicenza.

Asinara, an island in the Mediterranean, on the
N. W. coast of Sardinia, 17 m. N. by W. of Sas-
sari. It is 28 m. in compass, and is fertile and
populous. Long. 8. 24. E. lat. 41. 0. N.

Askeaton, a town and parish of Ireland, in the
county of Limerick, noted for its castle, and for
one of the most perfect abbeys in the country;
built by one of the earls of Desmond. It is seat-
ed on the Dee, near its confluence with the
Shannon, 20 m. VV. S. W. of Limerick. Pop. in
1820,1,239, and of the parish, 3,425.

Askrig, a town in North Yorkshire, Eng. seat-
ed near the Ure, 18 m. W. S. W. of Richmond
and 246 N. of London. Pop. in 1821,765.










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