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wishes, and to my admiration of his character, any attempt to delineate it must now be fuperfluous. I cannot, however, resist the impulse of recapitulating in substance what has been particularly detailed in the course of this work.
In the short space of forty-seven years, by the exertion of rare intellectual talents, he acquired a knowledge of arts, sciences, and languages, which has seldom been equalled, and scarcely, if ever, surpassed. If he did not attain the critical proficiency of a Porson or Parr in Grecian literature; yet his knowledge of it was most extensive and profound, and entitled him to a high rank in the first class of fcholars; while as a philologist, he could boast an universality in which he had no rival. His skill in the idioms of India, Perlia, and Arabia, has perhaps never been equalled by any European; and his compositions on Oriental subjects, display a taste, which we seldom find in the writings of those who had preceded him in these tracts of literature*.
Amongst those who have latterly distinguished themselves by their Oriental learning, the late Reverend J. I).
The language of Conftantinople was also familiar to him; and of the Chinese characters and tongue, he had learned enough to enable him to translate an ode of Confucius. In the modern dialects of Europe, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and German, he was thoroughly conversant, and had perused the most admired writers in those languages. I might extend the list, by specifying other dialects which he understood, but which he had less perfectly studied*
Carlyle, professor of Arabic in the University of Cam, bridge, has displayed equal taste and erudition, in his elegant translation of Specimens of Arabian POETRY, published in 1796.
* The following is transcribed from a paper in the hand-writing of Sir William Jones:
LANGUAGES: Light languages studied critically:
English, Latin, French, Italian,
Greek, Arabic, Persian, Sanscrit.
Hebrew, Bengali, Hindi, Turkish.
Tibetian, Pâli, Phalavi, Deri,
But mere philology was never considered by Sir William Jones as the end of his studies, nor as any thing more than the medium through which knowledge was to be acquired; he knew, that “ words were the daughters “ of earth, and things the sons of heaven,” and would have disdained the character of a mere linguist. In the little sketch of a treatise on Education, which has been inserted in these Memoirs, he describes the use of language, and the necessity of acquiring the languages of those people who in any period of the world have been distinguished by their superior knowledge, in order to add to our own researches the accumulated wisdom of all ages and nations. Accordingly, with the keys of learning in his possession, he was qualified to unlock the literary hoards of ancient and modern times, and to display the treasures deposited in them, for the use, entertainment, or instruction of mankind. In the course of his
Welsh, Swedish, Dutch, Chinese.
Twenty-eight languages, In another memorandum, he mentions having read a gramınar of the Russian and Welsh. .
labours, we find him elucidating the laws of Athens, India, and Arabia ; comparing the philosophy of the Porch, the Lyceum, and Academy, with the doctrines of the Sufis and Bramins; and, by a rare combination of taste and erudition, exhibiting the mythological fictions of the Hindus in strains not unworthy the sublimest Grecian bards. In the eleven discourses which he addressed to the Asiatic fociety, on the history, civil and natural, the antiquities, arts, sciences, philosophy, and literature of Asia, and on the origin and families of nations, he has discussed the subjects which he professed to explain, with a perspicuity which delights and instructs, and in a style which never ceases to please, where his arguments may not always convince. In these disquisitions, he has more particularly displayed his profound Oriental learning in illustrating topics of great importance in the history of mankind; and it is much to be lamented, that he did not live to revise and improve them in England, with the advantages
of accumulated knowledge and undisturbed leisure*.
* Of these discourses, the subjects of the two first have been noticed in the Memoirs; the seven following, from the third to the ninth inclusive, are appropriated to the solution of an important problem, whether the five nations, viz.the Indians, Arabs, Tartars, Persians, and Chinese, who have divided amongst themselves, as a kind of inheritance, the vast continent of Asia, had a common origin, and whether that origin was the same that is generally ascribed them.
To each of these nations a distinct essay is allotted, for the purpose of ascertaining, who they were, whence and when they came, and where they are now settled. The general media through which this extensive investigation is pursued, are, first, their languages and letters; secondly, their philosophy; thirdly, the actual remains of their old sculpture and architecture; and, fourthly, the written memorials of their sciences and arts: the eighth discourse is allotted to the borderers, mountaineers, and islanders of Asia; and the ninth, on the origin and families of nations, gives the result of the whole enquiry.
To state all the information which is curious, novel, and interesting, in these discourses, would be nearly to transcribe the whole, and the very nature of them does not admit of a satisfactory abridgment; the conclusion adopted by Sir William Jones, may be given in his own words; but this without the arguments from which it is deduced, and the facts and observations on which those arguments are founded, must be imperfectly understood. I must therefore refer the reader, who is desirous of investigating the great problem of the derivation of nations from their
parental stock, or, in other words, of the population of the