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qualified to speak. I have been informed, that his Essay on the Law of Bailments Khoten, as far as the territories of Chin ảnd Táncut, where letters have been immemorially used and arts cultivated, nor is it unreasonable to believe, that some of them found their way from the Eastern isles into Mexico and Peru, where traces were discovered of rudé literature and mythology, analogous to those of Egypt and India ; that, thirdly, the old Chaldean empire being overthrown by CAYUMERS, other migrations took place; especially into India, while the rest of Shen's progeny, some of whom had before settled on the red seas, peopled the whole Arabian peninsula, pressing close on the nations of Syria and Phænice; that, lastly, from all the three families many adventurers were detached, who settled in distant isles or deserts, and mountainous regions; that, on the whole, some colonies miglit have migrated before the death of Noah, but that states and empires could scarcely have assumed a regular form till 1500 or 1600 years before the Christian epoch; and that for the first thousand years of that period, we have no history unmixed with fable, except that of the turbulent and variable, but eminently distinguished nation, descended from Abraham.
The tenth discourse is appropriated to unfold the particular advantages to be derived from the concurrent researches of the society in Asia; and amongst the fore. most and most important which has been attained, he justly notices the confirmation of the Mosaic accounts of the primitive world.
Part of this discourse is quoted' at length in the Memoirs; and to abstract it would add too much to the length of this note: I shall only observe, that the disa course is worthy of the most attentive perusal.
was ftamped with the approbation of Lord Mansfield, and that his writings shew, that he had thoroughly studied the principles of law as a science. Indeed it is iinpoflible to
For a similar reason,
and with the same recommendation, I shall barely advert to the subject of the eleventh and last discourse, delivered by Sir William Jones before the society, on the 20th of February, 1791, On the Philosophy of the Asiatics, quoting a part of the concluding paragraph :-" The subject of this discourse is in“ exhaustible; it has been my endeavour to say as much “ on it as possible in the fewest words; and at the be
ginning of next year, I hope to close these general dis
quisitions with topics measureless in extent.” In this general and concise abstract of the subjects discussed in these discourses, I beg it may be understood, that I by no meads pretend to have done justice either to the argument or observations of Sir William Jones; but it may induce the reader to peruse the dissertations themselves, which will amply repay the trouble of the task.
Nor is the reader to conclude that these discourses contain all that Sir William Jones wrote on the sciences, arts, and literature of Asia. We have a dissertation on Indian Chronology; another on the Antiquity of the Indian Zodiack, in which he engages to support an opinion (which Montucla treats with supreme contempt,) that the Indian division of the Zodiack was not borrowed from the Greeks or Arabs; another specifically on the Literature of the Hindus; and one on the Musical Modes of the Hindus; besides many essays on curious and interesting subjects, for which I can only refer to his works,
suppose, that Sir William Jones, applied his talents to any subject in vain.
From the study of law, which he cultivated with enthusiasm, he was led to an admiration of the laws of his own country; in them he had explored the principles of the British constitution, which he considered as the noblest and most perfect that ever was formed: and in defence of it he would cheerfully have risked his property and life. In his tenth discourse to the society, in 1793, little more than a year before his death, we trace the same sentiments on this subject, which he adopted in youth.
“ The pra&ical use of history, in afforda ing particular examples of civil and military wisdom, has been greatly exaggerated; but principles of action may certainly be collected from it: and even the narrative of wars and revolutions
serve as a lesson to nations, and an admonition to sovereigns. A desire, indeed, of knowing past events, while the future cannot be known, (and a view of the present, gives often more pain than delight)
feems natural to the human mind: and a happy propensity would it be,' if every Feader of history would open his eyes to fome very important corollaries, which flow from the whole extent of it. He could not but remark the constant effect of despotism in benumbing and debafing all those faculties which distinguish men from the herd that grazes; and to that cause he would impute the decided inferiority of most Afiatic nations, ancient and modern, to those in Europe, who are blest with happier governments: he would see the Arabs rising to glory, while they adhered to the free maxims of their bold ancestors, and finking to misery from the moment when those maxims were abandoned. On the other hand, he would obferve with regret, that such republican governments as tend to promote virtue and happiness, cannot in their nature be permanent, but are generally succeeded by oligarchies, which no good man would wish to be durable. He would then, like the king of Lydia, remember Solon, the wisest, bravest,
and most accomplished of men, who afferts in four nervous lines, that, “as hail and snow, « which mar the labours of husbandmen,
proceed from elevated clouds, and, as the “ destructive thunderbolt follows the brilliant “flash, thus is a free ftate ruined by men ex, " alted in power, and fplendid in wealth, “ while the people, from gross igorance; " choose rather to become the flaves of one
tyrant, that they may escape from the do“ mination of many, than to preserve thems felves from tyranny
any kind by their " union and their virtues.” Since, therefore, no unmixed form of government could both preserve permanence and enjoy it; and since changes even from the worst to the best, are always attended with much temporary milchief, he would fix on our British constitu-tion (I mean our public law, not the actual state of things in any given period), as the best form ever established, though we can only make distant approaches to its theoretical perfection. In these Indian territories, which Providence has thrown into the arms