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self so much better, that I propose to continue my voyage this evening: whether I shall be able to go farther than Patna, (I long to see Benares) is very uncertain. This is only the second attempt I have made to write since my illness; and as I hold my pen with some difficulty, I will say no more than that I am, with great esteem, &c.
P. S. I cannot help adding, that your proposal of extracting such parts of your very interesting narrative concerning Cochinchina, as you may think proper to deposit among the archives of our society, is the very thing I wished, and I really think it will be one of our most valuable tracts”.
# # * # # # $:
But his thoughts and attention were not confined to the perishable concerns of this world only ; and what was the subject of his meditations in health, was more forcibly impressed upon his mind during illness. He knew the duty of resignation to the will of his Maker, and of dependence on the merits of a Redeemer; and I find these sentiments expressed in a short prayer, which he composed during his indisposition in September 1784, and which I here inscrt:
“O thou Bestower of all Good l if it please thee to continue my “easy tasks in this life, grant me strength to perform them as a “faithful servant; but if thy wisdom hath willed to end them by “this thy visitation, admit me, not weighing my unworthiness, “but through thy mercy declared in Christ, into thy heavenly “mansions, that I may continually advance in happiness, by ad“vancing in true knowledge and awful love of thee. Thy will “ be done s” I quote with particular satisfaction, this short but decisive testimony of the religious principles of Sir William Jones. Among many additional proofs, which might be given of them, is the following short prayer, composed on waking, July 27, 1783, at sea, also copied from his own writing:
* The extracts alluded to, have not yet appeared in the Asiatic Researches. The voyage which led to that narrative, was undertaken on the following occasion : Two Mandarins of Cochinchina, had been accidentally brought to Calcutta, in 1778; the GovernorGeneral of India, W. Hastings, Esq., from motives of humanity and policy, furnished the means of their return to their native country, and Charles Chapman, Esq., at his own request, was appointed to accompany them with a public commission, with instructions to establish, if practicable, a commercial intercourse between the Company's settlements in India and Cochinchina, and to procure such privileges and advantages for English vesscls resorting thither, as the government of that country might be disposed to grant.
K K “faithful
“Graciously accept our thanks, thou Giver of all Good, for ha“ving preserved us another night, and bestowed on us another day. “O, grant that on this day, we may meditate on thy law with joy
“ful veneration, and keep it in all our actions, with firm obe“dience.”
Minute circumstances frequently tend to mark and develop character. As a farther instance of this observation, however trifling it may appear, the application by Sir William Jones to himself, of two lines of Milton in his own writing under a card with his printed name, in addition to more substantial proofs, may be quoted in evidence of his habitual frame of mind:
Not wand'ring poor, but trusting all his wealth
On another scrap of paper, the following lines appear; they,
were written by him in India, but at what period is not known, nor indeed of any consequence:
Sir Edw ARD Coke,
If we sometimes suffer the humiliation, of seeing great talents and extensive erudition prostituted to infidelity, and employed in propagating misery by endeavouring to subvert the basis of our temporal and eternal welfare, we cannot but feel a more than common gratification, at the salutary union of true genius and piety. Learning, that wantons in irreligion, may, like the Sirius of Homer, flash its strong light upon us; but though brilliant, it is baneful, and while it dazzles, makes us tremble for our safety. Science therefore, without piety, whatever admiration it may excite, will never be entitled to an equal degree of respect and esteem, with the humble knowledge, which makes us wise unto Salvation. The belief of Sir William Jones in Revelation, is openly and distinctly declared in his works; but the unostentatious effusions of sequestered adoration, whilst they prove the sincerity of his conviction, give an additional weight to his avowed opinions. More might be added on this subject, but it will be communicated in another place.
His next stage was Bhagilpoor, the residence of the friend, to whom the preceding letters were addressed, and here he was long detained by illness and debility. The vigour of his mind however still continued unimpaired, and except during the severe paroxysms of disorder, his researches for information were never suspended, nor would he suffer himself to be debarred from any intercourse by which they could be promoted. It was at this place, during the hours of convalescence when he was confined to his couch, that he applied applied himself to the study of botany; a science for which he had early entertained a great partiality, and which he pronounces the most lovely and fascinating branch of natural knowledge. With the works of Linnaeus before him, he procured the plants of the country to be brought to him, and comparing the productions of nature, with the descriptions and arrangements of the Swedish | philosopher, he beguiled the hours of languor and disease, and laid the solid foundation of that botanical knowledge, which he ever o afterwards cultivated with increasing ardour and delight.
From Bhagilpoor he pursued his journey to Patna, where he was again attacked with a severe indisposition. It did not however prevent him from proceeding by land to Guyah, famous as the birthplace of Boudh, the author of a system of philosophy which labours under the imputation of atheism ; but more famous for the annual resort of Hindu pilgrims from all parts of India, who repair to the holy city for the purpose of making prescribed oblations to their deceased ancestors, and of obtaining absolution from all their sins.
The city of Benares was his next stage, and the limits of his excursion. He had here an opportunity of seeing the professors of the Hindu religion, at the most celebrated and ancient university of India, and had only to regret, that his knowledge of their language was insufficient to enable him to converse with them without the assistance of an interpreter. After a short residence, which his sense of duty would not allow him to protract unnecessarily, he
returned by the Ganges to Bhagilpoor", where, as he observes, he had
* From a note written by Sir William Jones, on Major Rennel's account of Butan and Tibet, I extract the following passage. It is endorsed, as having been intended for the Researches of the Asiatic Society, but is not published in them. c.c. Just
had already found so much health, pleasure, and instruction for two months.
In his journey from this place to Calcutta, he visited Gour, once the residence of the sovereigns of Bengal. This place still exhibits architectural remains of royal magnificence, which the traveller is obliged to explore at some personal risk amidst forests, the exclusive haunts of wild beasts ; for nature has here resumed her dominion, and triumphs over the short-lived pride of man. In a letter to a
“Just after sun-set, on the 5th of October 1784, I had a distinct view from Bhagil“poor of Chum Alu Ry peak, and the adjoining mountains of Tibet, which are very “clearly seen from Perneia, and were perfectly recollected by a learned member of our “society, one of the latest travellers to that interesting country, who had obligingly “ communicated to me a correct note of the bearings and courses observed in his journey “ from Rengpur to Tassisudden, and thence through Paradgong to Chunalury. The peak “ bore very nearly due north to the room, from which it was seen, in the house of Mr. “Chapman; and from the most accurate calculations that I could make, the horizontal “ distance at which it was distinctly visible, must be at least 244 British miles ; there was “ a strong glare from the setting sun on the snows of its more western side, and it might “ assuredly have been discerned at a much greater distance. By an observation of Mr. “ Davis, at Rengpur, and another at Tassisudden, the difference of latitude between the “ place last mentioned and Bhagilpoor, is 163 geographical, or 188 and a fraction, British “ miles : now although the road from Buradewar in Butan, the latitude of which was “ found to be 26° 53', consisted of rough mountains and deep valleys, yet the way be“tween Paradgong and Chumalury, especially from Chesacamba, the frontier of Tibet, “ was very level; and the accuracy of our travellers gives us reason to believe, that their “ computed miles from Tassistidden were but little above the standard; so that having “ measured the northern sides of the two triangles, formed by their courses WNW. and “ NNW. we could not be far from the truth.”
“The mountains of Chumalury, are the second or third ridge described in the Memoir. “The Major justly considers the mountains of Himola, for so they are named by the na“tives from a word signifying snow, as equal in elevation to any in the old hemisphere; “ and an observation of Mr. Saunders at Perneia, added to a remark of Mr. Smith on “the appearance of Chumalury from Moreng, gives abundant reas on to think, that we saw “from Bhagilpoor, the highest mountains in the world, without excepting the ANDEs.”