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we cannot leave Calcutta long enough to revisit your Indian Montpelier. As one of the Cymro-dorians, I am warmly interested in British antiquities and literature ; but my honour is pledged for the completion of the new digest of Hindu laws, and I have not a moment to spare for any
Sir William Fones to Sir J. Sinclair, Bart.
Crishna-ragur, Oct. 15, 1791. You may rely upon my best endeayours to procure information concerning the Afiatic wool, or soft hair; and the animals that carry it. I had the pleasure of circulating your very interesting tracts at Calcutta, and of exhibiting the specimens of very
beautiful wool with which you favoured me. My own time, however, is engaged from morning to night in discharging my public duties, and in arranging the new digest of Indian laws. I must therefore depend chiefly on others in procuring the information you are desirous of obtaining. Mr. Bebb of the board of trade,
and Colonel Kyd who superintends the Company's garden, have promised to assist me. The wool of these provinces is too coarse to be of use; but that of Kerman in Persia, which you know by the name of Carmanian wool, is reckoned exquisitely fine, and you might I suppose procure the sheep from Bombay. The shawl goats would live, I imagine, and breed, in England; but it is no less difficult to procure the females from Cashmir, than to procure mares from Arabia. When
fee Mr. Richardson, do me the favour to give him my
best thanks for the parcel, which he fent me by the desire of the Highland Society.
Sir William Jones to George Harding, Esq.
Crijbna-nagur, 087. 16, 1791.
MY DEAR SIR,
If the warmth of hearts were measured
by the frequency of letters, my heart must be thought the coldest in the world; but you, I am confident, will never apply so fallacious a thermometer. In serious truth, I am, and must be, the worst of correfpondents for the
following reasons among a hundred, a strong glare and weak eyes, long tasks and short daylight, confinement in court fix hours a day, and in my chambers three or four, not to mention casual interruptions and engagements. You spoke so lightly of your complaint, that I thought it must be transient, and should have been extremely grieved, if, in the very moment when I heard you had been seriously ill, I had not heard of
your recovery. Anna Maria has promised me to fail for Europe in January 1793, and I will follow her, when I can live as well in England on my private fortune as I can do here on half my salary.
I cannot but like your sonnets, yet with you would abstain from politicks, which add very little to the graces of poetry.
Sir William Jones to Sir Joseph Banks.
Crishna-nagur, 027. 18, 1791. I thank you heartily for your kind letters, but perhaps I cannot express my thanks better than by answering them as exactly as I am able.
First, as to sending plants from India, I beg you to accept my excuses, and to make them to Sir George Young, for my apparent inattention to such commissions. In short, if
you wifh to transfer our Indian plants to the Western islands, the Company must direct Kyd and Roxburgh to send them, and their own captains to receive them, and attend to them.
We are in sad want of a travelling botanist, with some share of
friend König's knowledge and zeal. A stationary botanist would fix on the indigo-fera, as the chief object of his care. Roxburgh will do much on the coast, if he can be relieved from his terrible head-achs, but here we have no assistance.
I have neither eyes nor time for a botanist, yet with Lady Jones's assistance, I am continually advancing; and we have examined about 170 Linnæan genera. She brought home, a morning or two ago, the most lovely epidendrum that ever was seen, but the description of it would take up too much room in a letter; it grew on a lofty amra, but it is an
air plant, and puts forth its fragrant enamelled blossoms in a pot without earth or water: none of the many species of Linnæus corresponds exactly with it. You must not imagine that, because I am, and shall be, saucy about the Linnæan language, that I have not the highest veneration for its great author; but I think his diction barbarous and pedantic, particularly in his Philofophia Botanica, which I have a right to criticise, having read it three times with equal attention and pleasure. Had Van Rheede exhibited the Sanscrit names with accuracy, we should not be puzzled with reading the Indian poems and medical tracts; but in all his twelve volumes, I have not found above ten or twelve names correctly expressed, either in Sanferit or Arabic. I shall touch again on botany, but I proceed with your first letter. I have little knowledge of Yacob Bruce; but his five volumes, which I read aloud, (except some passages which I could only read with my eyes) are so entertaining that I wished for five more, and readily forgave not only his mistakes in the bo