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Sir William Jones to 4. Shore, Esq.
June 9, 1789.
I am glad. Jayadeva* pleases you, and thank
for the sublime period of Hooker; of which I had only before seen the first part. His idea of heavenly and eternal law is just and noble; and human law as derived from it, must partake of the praise as far as it is perfectly administered; but corruptio optimi fit pesima, and if the administration of law should ever be corrupted, some future philosopher or orator will thus exhibit the reverse of the medal.
“Of law there can be no more acknowledg“ed, than that her seat is the store-house of
quirks, her voice the dissonance of brawls; “ all her followers indeed, both at the bar and “ below it, pay her homage, the very least as
gaining their share, and the greatest as “ hoping for wealth and fame; but kings,
nobles, and people of what condition soever,
* Gitagovinda, or the songs of Jayadeva ; Works, vol. . iv. p. 236.
“ though each in different fort and manner,
yet all have uniformly found their patience “ exhausted by her delays, and their purse by “ her boundless demands*"
The parody was fo obvious, that I could not refrain from shewing you the wrong side of the tapestry, with the same figures and flowers, but all maimed and discoloured.
Sir William Jones to J. Shore, Esq.
1789. We have finished the twentieth, and last book of Guicciardini's History, the most authentic, I believe (may I add, I fear) that
* The reader will thank me for giving him an opportunity of perusing the passage, at the close of the first book of the Ecclesiastical Polity, which Sir William Jones has parodied.
“ Of law, there can be no less acknowledged than that “ her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony “ of the world : all things in Heaven and Earth do her “ homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the
greatest as not exempted from her power; both angels and
men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all with “ uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their "peace and joy."
ever was composed. I believe it, because the historian was an actor in his terrible drama, and personally knew the principal performers in it; and I fear it, because it exhibits the woeful picture of society in the 15th and 16th centuries. If you can spare Reid, we are now ready for him, and will restore his two volumes on our return from Crishna-nagur.
When we meet, I will give you an account of my progress in detecting a most impudent fraud, in forging a Sanscrit book on oaths, by Hindus, since I saw you. The book has been brought to me, on a few yellow Bengal leaves apparently modern. The Brahman, who brought it from Sambhu Chaudra Rai, said it was twelve years old; I believe it had not been written twelve days. He said the original work of Mahadeva himself, from which the prohibition of swearing by the water of the Ganges was extracted, was at Crishna-nagur. I desired him to tell Sambhu Chaudra, who wants me to admit him a suitor, in formâ pauperis, without taking his onth, that unless he brought me the original,
and that apparently ancient, I should be convinced that he meant to impose upon me.
Sir William Jones to Mr. Justice Hyde.
Sept. 19, 1789. You have given Lady Jones great pleasure, by informing us from so good authority, that a ship is arrived from England; the presents you with her best compliments. Most readily shall I acquiesce in any
allevi. ation of Horrebow's* misery, that you
and Sir Robert Chambers shall think just and legal. I have not one law book with me, nor if I had many, should I perfectly know where to look for a mitigation by the court of a sentence, which they pronounced after full consideration of all its probable effects on the person condemned. I much doubt, whether
* This man, a foreigner, commanding a vessel, trading to Bengal, was convicted before the supreme court of judicature, of purchasing the children of natives, for the purpose of carrying them out of the country, and selling them as slaves. It was the first instance of an attempt of this kind; he was prosecuted by order of the government of Bengal, and since the punishment inflicted upon Horrebow, the attempt has not been repeated.
it can legally be done; nor do I think the petition states any urgent reason for it. First, he mentions losses already sustained (not therefore to be prevented by his enlargement), and, in my opinion, they cannot easily be more than he deserves. Next, his wife's health may have been injured by his disgrace, and may not be restored by our shortening the time of his confinement, which, if I remember, is almost half expired, and was as short as justice tempered with lenity would allow. His own health is not said to be affected by the imprisonment in such a place, at such a feason, for if it were proved that he were dangerously ill, we might, I suppose, remove him to a healthier place, or even let him go to sea, if able furgeons swore, that in their serious opinion, nothing else could save his life. That is by no means the case, and I confess I have no compassion for him ; my compassion is for the enslaved children and their parents. ' Nevertheless I know the benevolence of your heart, and shall approve whatever you
and Sir R. C. may do, if any precedent can be found or re