Page images
PDF
EPUB

na

Sir William Jones to Dr. Patrick Russel.

Crishna-nagur, Sept. 24, 1788. I have acted like those libertines who defer repentance till the hour of death, and then find that they have not time to repent. Thus I deferred the pleasure of answering letters till the vacation, but found the term and session so long, that I have scarce any vacation at all. I must therefore write very laconically, thanking you heartily for your kind letters, and very

curious
papers

in tural history, wishing that the public may foon gather the fruit of your learned labours.

The business of the court this year, has left me no leisure to examine flowers at Crishna-nagur. The fija is never in bloffom when I am here; but though it has something of the form of the cactus, yet I imagine from the milk of it, that it is an Euphorbia.

With all my exertions I cannot procure any fresh spikenard; but I will not desist.

I have two native physicians in my family, but they have only seen it in a dry state.

I am very sorry to find that you are leaving us, as I have no chance of seeing Europe till the end of the eighteenth century. I wish you and

your brother and his family a prosperous and speedy voyage.

It is impossible for me to write more than Vive, vale!

Sir William Jones to Thomas Caldicott, Esq.

Sept. 24, 1788. We had inceffant labour for fix hours a day, for three whole months, in the hot season between the tropics, and, what is a sad consequence of long fittings, we have scarcely any vacation. I can therefore only write to you a few lines this autumn. Before your brother fent me Lewisdon Hill, I had read it twice aloud to different companies, with great delight to myself and to them : thank the author in my name.

I believe his nameless rivulet is called Bret or Brit, (whence

Bridport) by Michael Drayton, who describes the fruitful Marshwood.

Pray assure all who care for me, or whom I am likely to care for, that I never, directly or indirectly, asked for the fucceffion' to Sir E. Impey, and that, if any indiscreet.friend of mine has asked for it in my name, the request was not made by my desire, and never would have been made with my assent.

“Co'magnanimi pochi, a chi 'l ben piace," I have enough, but if I had not, I think an ambitious judge a very dishonourable and mischievous character. Besides, I never would have opposed Sir R. Chambers, who has been my

friend twenty-five years, and wants money, which I do not. I have fixed on the

year

1800 for turn towards Europe, if I live so long, and hope to begin the new century auspiciously among my friends in England.

P. S. Since I wrote my letter, I have amused myself with composing the annexed ode to Abundance.* I took up ten or twelve hours

* Works, vol. xiii. p. 289.

my re

to compose and copy it; but I must now leave poetry,

and return for ten months to J. N. and J. S.

Sir William Jones to George Harding, Esq.

Sept. 24, 1788. MY DEAR FRIEND,

I am the worst and you the best correspondent; and I make but a pitiful return for your two kind letters by assuring you, that I find it impossible to answer them fully this season. My eyes were always weak, and the glare of an Indian sky las not strengthened them; the little day-light I can therefore spare from my public duties, I must allot to studies connected with them, I mean the fystems of Indian jurisprudence, and the two abtruse languages in which the Hindu and Muflulman laws are written.

*

Anna Maria is pretty well, and I am confequently happy: my own health is firm, and excepting the state of hers, I have all the happiness a mortal ought to have.

Sir William Jones to W. Shipley, Esq.

Sept. 27, 1788.

My own health by God's blessing is firm, but my eyes are weak, and I am so intent upon seeing the digest of Indian laws completed, that I devote my leisure almost entirely to that object; the natives are much pleased with the work; but it is only a preliminary to the security, which I hope to see established among our Afiatic subjects.

The business of our society is rather an amusement than a labour to me; they have as yet published nothing; but have materials for two quarto volumes, and will, I hope, send one to Europe next spring. I lament the sad effects of party, or rather faction in your

Maidstone society, but hope (to use a word of Dr. Johnson) that it will redintegrate. Many thanks for the transactions of your London society, which I have lent to a very learned and ingenious friend, who is much pleased with them.

« PreviousContinue »