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friend", written aster his arrival in Calcutta, he has briefly described some parts of his journey. “The Mahanada was beautiful, “ and the banks of some rivers in the Sunderbunds were magnificent ; we passed within two yards of a fine tiger, who gazed on us with indifference; but we took care for several reasons to “ avoid the narrow passes at night. As we approached Calcutta, “we perceived the difference of climate, and thought of Bhagil“poor with pleasure and regret.
“I find Calcutta greatly changed ; the loss of Mr. Hastings and Shoref, I feel very sensibly, and cannot but fear that the pleasure, which I derive from other friendships formed in India, will be followed by the pain of losing my friends next season. This was a great evil at the university, and abates not a little the happiness I expected in this country.
“Will you have the goodness to ask Mahesa pundit, whether the university of Tyrhoot is still supported, and confers degrees in Hindu law One of our pundits is dead, and we have thoughts of requesting recommendations from the universities of Hindustan, particularly from Benares, and Tyrhoot, if it exists; so that the new pundit may be universally approved, and the “Hindus may be convinced, that we decide on their law from the “best information we can procure.”
“I am just returned,” (thus he writes to another correspondent, Dr. P. Russel, March 2, 1785,) “as it were from the brink of “ another world, having been absent near seven months, and re“duced to a skeleton by fevers of every denomination, with an * Charles Chapman, Esq. + Warren Hastings, Esq. and Mr. Shore embarked in February 1785, for England.
# The pundits are the expounders of the Hindu law; in which capacity, two constantly attended the supreme court of judicature, at Fortwilliam. ”
“obstinate bilious flux at their heels. My health is tolerably re“stored by a long ramble through South Behar, and the district of “Benares, of which if I were to write an account, I must fill a “volume.”
They who have perused the description of Joanna, by Sir William Jones, will regret that this volume was never written. The objects presented to his inspection during his journey, afforded ample scope for his observation, which was equally qualified to explore the beauties of nature, the works of art, the discriminations of character, and the productions of learning and science. Many of the remarks and reflections which he made in this tour, are transfused through his various compositions, two of which were actually written, during the course of his journey.
The elegant little tale in verse, under the title of The Enchanted Fruit, or Hindu Wife, was composed during his residence in Beyhar, and affords a proof of the success of his enquiries, as well as of his skill in the happy application of the intelligence obtained by them.
The other production was a Treatise on the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India, which he afterwards revised, and presented to the society. The design of this essay was to point out a resemblance, too strong to have been accidental, between the popular worship of the old Greeks and Italians, and that of the Hindus, and between their strange religion and that of Egypt, China, Persia, Phrygia, Phoenicia, and Syria, and even remoter nations. The proof of such resemblance, if satisfactorily established, would, as he remarks, authorize an inference of a general union and affinity between the most distinguished inhabitants of the primitive world, at the time when they deviated, as they did too early deviate, from the rational
adoration of the only true God. To. To this journey, under Providence, he was in all probability indebted for the preservation of his life, which without it might have fallen a sacrifice to the accumulation of disease: after his arrival in Calcutta, his health was almost completely restored.
He now resumed his functions in the supreme court of judicature, and renewed the meetings of the society, which had been interrupted by his absence. In his second anniversary discourse, which was delivered in February 1785, he notices with pleasure and surprize the successful progress of the institution, and the variety of subjects which had been discussed by the members of it: and as in his first address, he had confined himself to the exhibition of a distant prospect only of the vast career on which the society was entering; in the second, he delineates a slight but masterly sketch of the various discoveries in history, science, and art, which might justly be expected to result from its researches into the literature of Asia. IIe mentions his satisfaction at having had an opportunity of visiting two ancient seats of Hindu religion and literature, and notices the impediments opposed by illness to the prosecution of his proposed enquiries, and the necessity of leaving them, as AEneas is feigned to have left the shades, when his guide made him recollect the swift flight of irrevocable time, with a curiosity raised to the height, and a regret not easy to be described.
I now return to the correspondence of Sir William Jones, which in this year, consists of few letters, and those chiefly addressed to *John Macpherson, Esq. who, in February 1785, succeeded to the station of Governor-General of India, on the departure of Mr. Hastings. If, in these letters, Sir William adverts to topics not familiar to his readers, they are such as naturally arise out of his situation and connections. Removed at a distance of a quarter of the circumference of the globe from the scene of politics, in which he had taken a deep interest, his attention is transferred to new objects and new duties. The sentiments which flow from his pen, in the confidential intercourse of friendship, display his mind more clearly than any narrative; and they are often such as could not be . omitted without injury to his character. Some passages in the letters, which, as less generally interesting, could be suppressed without this effect, have not been transcribed.
* The present Sir John Macpherson, Bart. ** the
Sir WILLIAM JONES to J. MACPHERSON, Esq. - March 12, 1785. I always thought before I left England, that a regard for the public good required the most cordial union between the executive and judicial powers in this country; and I lamented the mischief occasioned by former divisions. Since I have no view of happiness on this side of the grave, but in a faithful discharge of my duty, I shall spare no pains to preserve that cordiality which subsists, I trust, and will subsist, between the government and the judges.
Lord Bacon, if I remember right, advises every statesman to relieve his mind from the fatigues of business by a poem, or a prospect, or any thing that raises agreeable images; now as your own gardens afford you the finest prospects, and I should only offer you a view of paddy fields", I send you for your amusement, what has amused me in the composition, a poemi on the old philosophy and religion of this country, and you may depend on its orthodoxy. The time approaches when I must leave these recreations, and return to my desk in court, where however a knowledge of the Hindu manners and prejudices may not be useless. * Rice fields. f The Enchanted Fruit; or, Hindu Wife. Works, vol. vi. p. 177. L L. Sir
Sir WILLIAM JONES to J. MACPHERSON, Esq.
May 17, 1785. I have so many things, my dear Sir, to thank you for, that I scarce know where to begin. To follow the order of time, I must in the first place give you my hearty thanks for your kind and pleasing letter of last week, which shews that your mind can grasp the whole field of literature and criticism, as well as that of politics, and that in the manner of ancient rulers in Asia, particularly Cicero, the governor of Cilicia, you unite the character of the statesman and the scholar. Next for the news, which has on the whole given me pleasure, and in particular, what both pleases and surprises. me, that Lord Camden has accepted the post of president of the council. You know the opinion which I early formed of Pitt; and that opinion will be raised still higher, if he has shewn himself (not merely indifferent, but) anxious that the reins of this government may long continue in the hands which now hold them, and which, though mortals, as Addison says, cannot command success, will certainly deserve it. I anxioulsy wish, for the sake of the public, that not only the operations of the law, but the cordial assent of those on whom it depends, have already secured your seat, as long as it may be consistent with your happiness to fill it.— + #: + # :* * I will not fail to talk with Mr. Chambers on the college, and beg you to assure yourself, that I shall ever be happy in my sphere to give my humble assistance whenever you may require it.
Sir WILLIAM JONES to J. MACPHERSON, Esq. May 22, 1785, It was my intention to present to you in the author's name, the books which I now send. The poet Zainudeen WàS Têcommended