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“ more likely to assist and embellish other “ female accomplishments, could not possibly “ be recommended."
It cannot be deemed useless or superfluous, to enquire by what arts or method he was enabled to attain this extraordinary degree of knowledge. The faculties of his mind, by nature vigorous, were improved by constant exercise ; and his memory, by habitual practice, had acquired a capacity of retaining whatever had once been imprinted upon it, In his early years, he feems to have entered upon his career of study with this maxim strongly impressed upon his mind, that whatever had been attained, was attainable by him, and it has been remarked, that he never neglected nor overlooked any opportunity of improving his intellectual faculties, or of acquiring esteemed accomplishments.
To an unextinguished ardour for univerfal information, he joined a perseverance in the pursuit of it, which subdued all obstacles. His studies in India began with the dawn, and during the intermissions of professional
duties, were continued throughout the day: reflection and meditation strengthened and confirmed what industry and investigation had accumulated. It was also a fixed prin. ciple with him, from which he never voluntarily deviated, not to be deterred by any difficulties that were surmountable from prosecuting to a successful termination, what he had once deliberately undertaken.
But what appears to me more particularly to have enabled him to employ his talents fo much to his own and the public advantage, was the regular allotment of his time to particular occupations, and a scrupulous adherence to the distribution which he had fixed; hence all his studies were pursued without interruption or confusion *. Nor can I omit
* It was a favourite opinion of Sir William Jones, that all men are born with an equal capacity for improvement. The assertion (which I do not admit) will remind the reader of the modest declaration of Sir Isaac Newton, that if he had done the world any service, it was due to nothing but industry and patient thought. The following lines were sent to Sir William by a friend, Thomas Law, Esq. in consequence of a conversation in which he had maintained the opinion which I have imputed to him;
remarking the candour and complacency, with which he gave his attention to all persons of whatever quality, talents, or education; he justly concluded, that curious or important imformation might be gained even
his answer, which was unpremeditated, is a confirmation of it.
Sir William, you attempt, in vain,
Sir WILLIAM JONES's Answer:
Ah! but too well, dear friend, I know
from the illiterate, and, wherever it was to be obtained, he fought and seized it.
The literary designs which he still meditated*, seem to have been as ample as those which he executed; and if it had pleased Providence to extend the years of his existence, he would in a great measure have exhausted whatever was curious, important, and attainable, in the arts, sciences, and histories of India, Arabia, Persia, China, and Tartary. His collections on these subjects were extensive, and his ardour and industry we know were unlimited. It is to be hoped that the progressive labour of the society will in part supply, what he had so extensively plannedt.
* See Memoirs, p. 3. vol. ii. + The following paper written by Sir William Jones, was found amongst his papers after his death, and may be considered as exhibiting his Oriental literary projects:
The Ancient Geography of India, &c. from the Puranas.
Of his private and social virtues it still remains to speak; and I could with pleasure expatiate on the independence of his inte
2. A Botanical Description of Indian Plants from the Coshás, &c.
3. A Grammar of the Sanscrit Language from Panini, &c.
4. A Dictionary of the Sanscrit Language from thirtytwo original Vocabularies and Niructi.
5. On the Antient Music of the Indians.
6. On the Medical Substances of India, and the Indian Art of Medicine.
7. On the Philosophy of the Ancient Indians.
8. A Translation of the Veda.
9. On Ancient Indian Geometry, Astronomy, and Algebra.
10. A Translation of the Puranas.
11. Translation of the Mahabharat and Rámáyan.
12. On the Indian Theatre, &c. &c.
13. On the Indian Constellations, with their Mythology, from the Puranas.