Page images
PDF
EPUB

wants of a man, who would rather have beert Cincinnatus with his plough, than Lucullus with all his wealth, yet I wish to complete the system of Indian laws while I remain in India, because I wish to perform whatever I promise, with the least possible imperfection; and in so difficult a work doubts must arise, which the pundits alone could remove. You continue, I hope, to find the gardens healthy; nothing can be more pleasant than the house in which we live; but it might justly be called the temple of the winds, especially as it has an octagonal form, like that erected at Athens to those boisterous divinities. I cannot get rid of the rheumatism which their keen breath has given me, and submit with reluctance to the necessity of wrapping myfelf in shawls and flannel. We continue to be charmed with the perspicuity, moderation, and eloquence of Filangieri.

Of European politics I think as little as poffible; not because they do not interest my heart, but because they give me too much pain. I have “ good will towards men, and

wish peace on earth;” but I fee chiefly under the sun, the two classes of men whom Solomon describes, the oppressor and the oppressed. I have no fear in England of

open despotism, nor of anarchy. I shall cultivate my fields and gardens, and think as little as possible of monarchs or oligarchs.

I am, &e.

*

It would not be easy to give expression to the feelings excited by the perufal of this letter, nine years

after the date of it. . In recalling the memory of domestic misfortunes, which time had nearly obliterated, it revives with new force the recollection of that friend, whose sympathy endeavoured to soothe the sorrows of a father for the loss of his children. The transition by Sir William Jones to the circumstances of his own situation is natural, and the conjugal bosom may perhaps fympathize with a fond husband, anticipating the affliction of the wife of his affection, and his own efforts to console her; that wife however still survives to lament her irreparable loss in the

death of Sir William Jones himself, and has had for some years the happiness to console, by the tenderest assiduities, the increasing infirmities of an aged' mother*.

The friends of Religion, who know the value of the “ sure and certain hopes” which it inspires, will remark with satisfaction, the pious sentiments expressed by Sir Williain Jones a few months only before his own death. They will recollect the determination which he formed in youth, to examine with attention the evidence of our holy Religion, and will rejoice to find unprejudiced enquiry terminating, as might be expected, in a rational conyi&tion of its truth and divine authority.

Of this conviction, his publications, though none of them were professedly religious, afford ample and indubitable testimony; and I cannot deem it a superfluous task (to me, indeed, it will be most grateful) to select from them, and from such other materials as I pos.

[ocr errors]

* Mrs. Shipley died on the 9th of March, 1803, in her 87th year.

She retained all her faculties to that prolonged period,

sess, his opinions on a subject of undeniable importance.

Amongst the papers written by Sir William Jones, I find the following prayer, composed by him on the first day of the year 1782, about fifteen months before his embarkation

for India, and more than twelve

years

before his death :

A PRAYER. Eternal and incomprehensible Mind, who, by thy boundless power, before time began, createdît innumerable worlds for thy glory, and innumerable orders of beings for their happiness, which thy infinite goodness prompted thee to desire, and thy infinite wisdom enabled thee to know! we, thy creatures, vanish into nothing before thy supreme Majesty; we hourly feel our weakness; we daily bewail our vices; we continually acknowledge our folly; thee only we adore with awful veneration; thee we thank with the most fervent zeal; thee we praise with astonishment and rapture ; to thy power we humbly submit; of thy goodness we devoutly implore protection; on thy wisdom we firmly and cheerfully rely,

We do but open our eyes, and instantly we perceive thy divine existence; we do but exert our reason, and in a moment we discover thy divine attributes:' but our eyes could not behold thy Splendour, nor could our minds comprehend thy divine essence; we see thee only through thy stupendous and all-perfect works; we know thee only by that ray of sacred light, which it has pleased thee to reveal. Nevertheless, if creatures too ignorant to conceive, and too depraved to pursue, the means of their own happiness, may without presumption express their wants to their CREATOR, let us humbly supplicate thee to remove from us that evil, which thou hast permitted for a time to exist, that the ultimate good of all may be complete, and to secure us from that vice, which thou sufferest to spread snares around us, that the triumph of virtue may be more conspicuous. Irradiate our minds with all useful truth; instil into our hearts a spirit of general benevolence; give understanding to the foolish; meekness to the proud; temperance to the diffolute; fortitude to the feeble-hearted; hope to the desponding; faith to the unbeliev

« PreviousContinue »