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the British dominions in Bengal. Exclusively of his anxiety to acquire, from local observation, a knowledge of the state of the country, and of the manners and characters of the natives, a prudent attention to the re-establishment of his health, which had suffered from an unremitted application to his public duties as judge and magistrate, as well as a regard for that of Lady Jones, now rendered the journey expedient. In the beginning of 1786, after the recess of the court, he had an opportunity of executing his plan, and repaired to Chatigan by sea, in February.
A short time before his departure, a difcussion had taken place between the judges of the supreme court of judicature, and the executive government of Bengal, respecting a resolution adopted by the latter, altering the mode in which the salaries of the judges had been paid. They remonstrated against the resolution, and the letter written by Sir William Jones to Sir J. Macpherson on the occasion, is so strongly characteristic of that independent spirit which he always possessed,
that on this account it merits insertion. The remainder of his correspondence of this year, as far as it is proper to lay it before the public, follows in the order of its dates.
Sir William Jones to 7. Macpherson, Bart.
Phænir Sloop, Feb. 5, 1786. MY DEAR SIR,
Had I known where Captain Light * lived in Calcutta, I would not have troubled you
with the annexed letter, but I must request you to forward it to him. It is an answer to an excellent letter from him, which I received near a twelvemonth
I anxiously hope he has completed (what no other European could begin) a version of the Siamese code.
My voyage to the eastern coast will, I trust, be
very pleasant, and I hope we shall make our part good against the scoundrel Peguers ; though if we descry a fleet of boats, I believe it will be wiser to retreat on the wings of the
* Captain Light was appointed superintendant of a new settlement at Penang, or Prince of Wales's Island. He was thoroughly conversant in the Malay dialect.
Phoenix; for I am not poet enough to believe, that another will rise from her ashes.
I lament that our respective engagements have prevented our meeting often, since the end of the rains; but six or seven hours in the morning, and two or three in the evening, spent in unremitted labour for the last three months, fatigued me so much that I had no leisure for fociety, scarcely any for natural repose. My last act was to sign our letter to your board on the subject of our salaries, and I would have called upon you to expoftulate amicably on the measure you had pursued, if I had not wished to spare you the pain of defending indefensible steps, and the difficulty of finding reasons to support the most unreasonable conduct. Many passages in the letter were softened by my brethren, for I, who have long been habituated to ancient simplicity, am ever inclined both to write and speak as I think and feel ; and I should certainly have asked, if we had conversed on this matter, whether distressing and pinching the judges, and making them contemptible in the
eyes of the natives, and of their own servants, was, as you expressed yourself last summer, affifting them with heart and hand; or whether forming resolutions, as the sub-treasurer wrote me word three weeks ago concerning them, of which they were the last men in the settlement to hear, was intended as a return for that perfect cordiality, as far as honesty permitted, which I had assured you and Mr. Stables, to be one of the golden rules which I had early resolved to pursue in my judicial character.
In a word, the measure is so totally indefensible, that it would have given me as much pain as yourself, to have discussed it. I have marked the progress of this business from the morning, when I received Mr. M.'s note; and I am well persuaded, that the invasion of our property, was not an idea conceived or approved by you, but forced on you by some financier, who was himself deluded by a conceit of impartiality, not confilering that the cases were by no means parallel ; under this persuasion, I beg you to
believe, that the measure has not yet made any change in the sincere esteem, with which I am, dear Sir, Your faithful humble servant,
Sir William Jones to Thomas Caldicott, Esq.
Chatigan, Feb. 21, 1786. I have been so loaded with business, that I deferred writing to you, till it was too late to write much, and when the term ended, was obliged, for the sake of
wife's health and my own, to spend a few weeks in this Indian Montpelier, where the hillocks are covered with pepper vines, and sparkle with blossoms of the coffee tree; but the description of the place would fill a volume, and I can only write a short letter to say, si vales, bene est; valeo.
Sir William Jones to George Hardynge, Esq.
Feb. 22, 1786. A word to you, no! though you have more of wisdom (et verbum fapienti, &c.) than I