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have, or wish to have of popularity, yet I would not send you one word, but millions and trillions of words, if I were not obliged to reserve them for conversation. The immeasureable field, that lies before me in the study of Sanscrit and of Hindu jurisprudence (the Arabic laws are familiar to me) compels me for the present, to suspend my intention of corresponding regularly with those I love *
* The following sonnet, written some years before the date of Sir William Jones's letter, was addressed by him to his friend:
To G. HARDYNGE, Esq.
Whom thy learn’d sire's well polish'd lays invite,
The glorious meed of many a studious night,
And many a day spent in asserting right,
Allure thy fancy. Think how Tully shone,
What gave them strength? Not eloquence alone,
Sir William Jones to Sir 7. Macpherson, Bart.
Jafferabad, Feó. 27, 1786.
I cannot express, my dear Sir, the pleasure which I have just received from that part
of the Board's letter to us, in which they set us right in our misconception of their preceding letter.
I rejoice that we were mistaken, and have just signed our reply; it will, I persuade myself, restore the harmony of our concert, which, if worldly affairs have any analogy to music, will rather be improved than spoiled by a short diffonant interval. You, who are a musician, will feel the tone of this metaphor; as to my harsher notes, quicquid afperius dictum est, indictum esto. In fact (you could not know it, but) I never had been so pinched in my life, for the last three months ; having bought company's bonds, (which nothing but extreme necessity could have made me sell at 30 per cent. discount), I was unable to pay my physician, or my munshis, and was forced to borrow (for the first time in my life) for my daily rice; what
was worse, I was forced to borrow of a black man, and it was like touching a snake or the South American eel; in short, if our apprehenGons had been well grounded, two of us had resolved to go home next season. But letter dispersed all clouds and made my
mind as clear as the air of this fine climate, where I expect to escape the heats, and all the ills they produce in a constitution like mine. I confess I wish you had accepted our offer, for half my falary is enough for me, and I would have received the remainder cheerfully on any terms, as I have hitherto done; but as it is, we are all satisfied, and your offers were so equal, that either would have been satisfactory to me.
You must know better than I can, though I am so much nearer the place on the frontiers where Major Ellerker is now encamped. I can hardly persuade myself that Myun Gachim Fera*, with all his bravery in words, will venture to pass the Nâf; the whole story
* A general in the service of the king of Ava, who appeared on the frontiers of Chatigan, with an army. The Naf, is the boundary river between Chatigan and Aracan.
iscurious, and as I am on the spot, I wish to write it with all the gravity of an historian, efpecially as I can pick out some part of the Pegu general's original letter, the characters of which are little more than the nagari letters inverted and rounded.
I now sit opposite to the seas, which wafted us gently hither in the Phønix ; and our voyage was well timed, for had we staid two days longer, we should have been in a north-wester. A beautiful vale lies between the hillock on which the house is built and the beach, on all the other sides are hills finely diversified with groves, the walks are scented with blossoms of the champac* and nagafart; and the plantations of pepper and coffee are equally new and pleasing. My wife, who desires her best remembrance, amuses herself with drawing, and I with botany. If (which I trust will not be the case) you should be indisposed, this is the Montpelier which will restore
you to health.
Sir William Jones to Mr. Justice Ilyde.
Jafferabad, April 30, 1785.
I delayed, my dear Sir, to answer
kind letter of the roth, until I could give you an accurate account of my motions towards Calcutta. We shall not stay here a whole week longer, but proceed, as soon as we can make preparations for our journey, to the burning well*, and thence
* The burning well is situated about twenty-two miles from Chatigan, at the termination of a valley surrounded by hills. I visited it in 1778, and from recollection am enabled to give the following account of it. The shape of the well, or rather reservoir, is oblong, about six feet by four, and the depth does not exceed twelve feet. The water which is always cold is supplied by a spring, and there is a conduit for carrying off the superfluity; a part of the surface of the well, about a fourth, is covered with brickwork, which is nearly ignited by the flames, which flash without intermission from the surface of the water. It would appear that an inflammable vapour escapes through the water, which takes fire on contact with the external air ; the perpetuity of the flame is occasioned by the ignited brick-work, as without this, much of the vapour would escape without conflagration. This was proved by taking away the covering of brick-work after the extinction of the heat, by throwing upon it the water of the well. The flames still continued to burst forth from the surface, but with momentary intermissions, and the vapour was always immediately kindled by holding a candle at a small distance from the surface of the water. A piece of