CARL FRIEDRICH NEUMANN, the author of the subjoined memoir on the presumed early discovery of America by Buddhist monks, was of Jewish family, and born December 22, 1798, near Bamberg, Bavaria. He was intended for commerce, but having studied history at the Universities of Heidelberg and Munich, determined to devote his life to letters. Having become a Protestant, he was appointed professor in 1822 at the Gymnasium of Speier, whence he was dismissed in 1825 for Liberal opinions in politics. He subsequently lived for several years in Venice, Paris, and London, occupied with the study of Oriental languages. Having distinguished himself as a sinologist, he went. in 1829 to China, where he remained nearly two years, occupied in collecting Chinese books. In Canton he obtained a valuable library of 10,000 volumes, which, after his return, were ceded to the Bavarian Government. In 1838 he received an appointment as professor of the Chinese and Armenian languages at the University of Munich, where he also read lectures on mathematics
and modern history, which were very popular with the students. Having known him well, both in public and private, and pursued studies under his special guidance, I venture to speak with confidence and respect of his enormous learning, as well as his sound judgment in matters of scholarship.
Professor Neumann was the author of a number of works in Latin, French, and English, as well as German, two of which received prizes from the Academies of Copenhagen and Paris. His principal books are the following:
Rerum Cretaricum Specimen. Göttingen, 1820.
Ueber die Staatsverfassung der Florentiner, von Leonardus Aretinus. Frankfurt, 1822.
Historische Versuche. Heidelberg, 1825.
Mémoires sur la Vie et les Ouvrages de David, philosophe Armenien du cinquième siècle de notre ére, et principalement sur ses traductions de quelques écrits à Aristote. Paris, 1829.
The History of Vartan, and of the Battle of the Armenians, containing an account of the religious wars between the Persians and Armenians. By Elisæus; translated by C. F. Neumann. London, 1831.
The Catechism of the Shamans, or the Laws and Regulations of the Priesthood of Buddha in China. Translated from the Chinese, with notes and illustrations. London, 1831.
History of the Pirates who infested the Chinese Seas from 1807 to 1810. Translated from the Chinese original, with notes and illustrations. London, 1831.
Geschichte der Armenischen Literatur. Leipzig, 1833-36.
Geschichte der Uebersiedlung von 40,000 Armeniern. Leipzig, 1834.
Russland und die Tcherkessen. Stuttgart, 1840.
Geschichte des Englisch-Chinesischen Kriegs. Leipzig, 1846. In this comprehensive work, one division is entitled, "Nord Amerika und Frankreich in China," in which the present and future relations of Western America and Eastern Asia are developed with great sagacity. A few years before his death, Iskander (Alexander Herzen) wrote to me--"The Pacific will yet be the Mediterranean of the future." Those who look forward to such developments of civilisation and commerce will find this book of Professor Neumann's very interesting.
Die Völker des Südlichen Russland in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung. Leipzig, 1847. To this work was awarded the prize of the Royal Institute of Paris.
Die Reisen des Venetianers Marco Polo, Deutsch von August Bürk. Nebst Zusätzen und Verbesserungen von C. F. Neumann. Leipzig, 1845.
Beiträge zur Armenischen Literatur. Leipzig, 1849.
Geschichte des Englischen Reichs in Asien. Leipzig, 1857.
Professor Neumann was one of the directors of the German Oriental Association, and published in the first number of their magazine a biography of Dr Morrison, the celebrated Protestant missionary to China.
I sincerely trust that the additions which I have made to this work, in elucidation or in illustration of the idea advanced, will be found to the purpose. They are the result of much research,--I may honestly say, of far more than appears in this volume, as the subject, from its obscurity, yielded only the proverbial grain of wheat to the wearisome bushel of chaff. I also hope that it is free from either reckless hypothesis or easy credulity, and that nothing will be understood to be advanced as being more than probable.