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 It is said that the Indians are divided into seven castes. The first in rank, but the smallest in number, are the philosophers. Persons who intend to offer sacrifice, or to perform any sacred rite, have the services of these persons on their private account; but the kings employ them in a public capacity at the time of the Great Assembly, as it is called, where at the beginning of the new year all the philosophers repair to the king at the gate, and anything useful which they have committed to writing, or observed, tending to improve the productions of the earth or animals, or of advantage to the government of the state, is then publicly declared. Whoever has been detected in giving false information thrice is enjoined silence by law during the rest of his life; but he who has made correct observations is exempted from all contributions and tribute.
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