Neumann, Carl Friedrich
leipsic london chinese
NEUMANN, CARL FRIEDRICH (1798-1870), the well-known Orientalist, was born of Jewish parents at Reichmansdorf near Bamberg, on the 22d December 1798. He began life in a merchant's office at Frankfort, but finding commerce unsuited to his taste he resigned his desk, and in 1816 entered as a student at the university of Heidelberg. From thence he went to Munich, where, under the influence of the liberal opinions which were fast gaining possession of his mind, he deserted his hereditary faith for the Lutheran communion. Once more he sought another alma mater, and finally completed his studies at Gottingen. In 1822 he was appointed to a professorship in a gymnasium at Spires, but the same freedom of thought which had led him to leave the religion of his fathers brought him into conflict with the authorities of that institution, who, believing the religious tendency of his historical teaching to be heterodox, dismissed him from his office. About this time he appears to have entered on the serious study of Armenian, and in 1827 we find him at Venice devoting himself to that language under the guidance of the monks of the monastery of San Lazaro. In the following year he visited Paris for the purpose of pursuing a more general study of the Oriental languages, among which Chinese had for him a special attraction. It was not, however, until he reached London in 1829 that he first contemplated visiting China, a project which in 1830 he carried into execution. While in that country he gathered together a library of 10,000 volumes, consisting of works in all departments of literature, and he also purchased a collection of works in 2400 volumes for the royal library at Berlin. On his return to Europe in 1831 he presented the 10,000 volumes to the royal library at Munich, and was most appropriately installed by the Government as curator of his gift, as well as professor of Chinese at the university. His lectures at this period of his career were no less conspicuous for the deep and wide knowledge they displayed of the languages and history of the East than for the zeal for social progress which was apparent in them. During the disturbed years which preceded the revolutionary period of 1848 the natural tendency of his mind placed him in the fore front among the "friends of the people," and when the outbreak came he was elected a member of the Bavarian Provisional Parliament. The prominent position thus accorded to him cost him his professorship when four years afterwards the royalists found themselves sufficiently powerful to make such reprisals. He, however, still remained at Munich pursuing his favourite studies until 1864, when he removed to Berlin, where he died on the 17th March 1870.
Among the best known works of this indefatigable student are his Pilgerfahrten buddhistischer Priester aus China mut Indien, Leipsic, 1883 ; Henwire sur in vie et les ouvrages de David, philosophe armenien die einguieme sieele de noire ere, Paris, 1829 ; Geschichte des Englisch-Chinesischen Krieges, Leipsic, 1846 ; Supplement to Bfirck's Marco Polo, Leipsic, 1846 ; Geschichte des Englischen Belches in Asien, 2 vols., Leipsic, 1857 ; Ostasiatische Gesehichie eons ersten Chinesischen Krieg his x. den Vertragen in Peking, 1840-60, Leipsic, 1861 ; translations from Armenian of the History of Vartan by Eliseeus (London, 1830), and of Vahram's Chronicle of the Armenian Kingdom in Cilicia (London, 1831); from the Chinese of the Catechism of the Shamans (London, 1831), and of the History of the Pirates who infested the Chinese Seas from 1807 to 1810 (London, 1831) ; and from the Italian of the Versuch einer Geschichte der armenisch-cn Literatur (Leipsic, 1833). Besides these works he published Lehrsaal des Mittelreiehes, 1836 ; his Asiatische Studien, 1837 ; Die VSiker des stidlichen Busslands in ihrer geschichtliehen Entwickelung, 1847, for the last of which papers he gained a prize from the French Institute.