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ing you heartily for your kind letters, and very curious papers in natural history, wishing that the public may soon gather the fruit of your learned labours.
The business of the court this year, has left me no leisure to examine flowers at Crislına-nagur. The sija is never in blossom when I am here; but though it has something of the form of the cactus, yet I imagine from the milk of it, that it is an Euphorbia.
With all my exertions I cannot procure any fresh spikenard ; but I will not desist. I have two native physicians in my family, but they have only seen it in a dry state.
I am very sorry to find that you are leaving us, as I have no chance of seeing Europe till the end of the eighteenth century. I wish
and your brother and his family a prosperous and speedy voyage. It is impossible for me to write more than Vive, vale !
Sir WILLIAM JONES to THOMAS CALDICOTT, Esq.
Sept. 24, 1788. We had incessant labour for six hours a day, for three whole months, in the hot season between the tropics, and, what is a sad consequence of long sittings, we have scarcely any vacation. I can therefore only write to you a few lines this autumn. Before your brother sent me Lewisdon Hill, I had read it twice aloud to different companies, with great delight to myself and to them : thank the author in my name. I believe his nameless rivulet is called Bret or Brit, (whence Bridport) by Michael Drayton, who describes the fruitful Marshwood.
Pray assure all who care for me, or whom I am likely to care for, that I never, directly or indirectly, asked for the succession to Sir
F. Impey, and that, if any indiscreet friend of mine has asked for it in my name, the request was not made by my desire, and never would have been made with my assent.
“ Co' magnanimi pochi, a chi 'l ben piace,” I have enough, but if I had not, I think an ambitious judge a very dishonourable and mischievous character. Besides, I never would have opposed Sir R. Chambers, who has been my friend twenty-five years, and wants money, which I do not.
I have fixed on the year 1800 for my return towards Europe, if I live so long, and hope to begin the new century auspiciously among my friends in England.
P.S. Since I wrote my letter, I have amused myself with composing the annexed ode to Abundance*. I took up ten or twelve hours to compose and copy it; but I must now leave poetry, and return for ten months to J. N. and J. S.
Sir WILLIAM JONES to GEORGE HARDING, Esq.
Sept. 24, 1758. DIY DEAR FRIEND,
I am the worst and you the best correspondent; and I make but a pitiful return for your two kind letters by assuring you, that I find it impossible to answer them fully this season. My eyes were always weak, and the glare of an Indian sky has not strengthened them; the little day-light I can therefore spare
from my public duties, I must allot to studies connected with them, I mean the systems of Indian jurisprudence, and the two abstruse languages in which the Hindu and Mussulman laws are written.
* Works, vol. vi. p. 355.
Anna Maria is pretty well, and I am consequently happy: my own health is firm, and excepting the state of hers, I have all the happiness a mortal ought to have.
Sir WILLIAM JONES to W. SHIPLEY, Esq.
Sept. 27, 1788.
My own health by God's blessing is firm, but my eyes are weak, and I am so intent upon seeing the digest of Indian laws completed, that I devote my leisure almost entirely to that object; the natives are much pleased with the work; but it is only a preliminary to the security, which I hope to see established anong our Asiatic subjects.
The business of our society is rather an amusement than a labour to me: they have as yet published nothing; but have materials for two quarto volumes, and will, I hope, send one to Europe next spring. I lament the sad effects of party, or rather faction in your Maidstone society, but hope (to use a word of Dr. Johnson) that it will redintegrate. Many thanks for the transactions of your
London society, which I have lent to a very learned and ingenious friend, who is much pleased with them.
Sir W. JONES to J. BURNETT, Lord MONTBODDO.
Sept. 24, 1788. The questions concerning India, which you do me the honour to think me capable of answering, require a longer answer than the variety of my present occupations allow me to write. Suffer me therefore to inclose a discourse not yet published, which may give you some satisfaction on Indian literature, and to refer you to the first volume of the transactions of our society, which will, I hope, be sent next season to Europe. As my principal
object is the jurisprudence, I have not yet examined the philosophy of the Brahmans; but I have seen enough of it to be convinced, that the doctrines of the Vidanti school are Platonic.
Sir WILLIAM JONES to J. SHORE, Esq.
Jan. 26, 1789 Let me trouble you, as you see Colonel Kyd oftener than I do, to give him Sir George Young's botanical letter, which I annex. I have requested Colonel Martin to send Sir George all the seeds which he can collect, and will co-operate (as far as my occupations will allow) in the plan of transferring to the West Indies, the spicy forests of Asia: but I have little time at command, and, holding every engagement sacred, I must devote my leisure to the system of Asiatic jurisprudence, which I will see established before I see Europe. It will properly follow your wise and humane design of giving security to the property of the natives. When you have had a copy taken of the Persian Hermit,* I shall be glad to borrow it, that my munshi may transcribe it. Could you not find some leisure hour to explain an episode of Homer to Serajélhak, that he might try his hand with it?
Sir WILLIAM JONES to J. SHORE, Esq.
1789: Flemingt still keeps me a prisoner, and forbids my reading aloud, which used to be my chief amusement in the evening. I trust you will soon be well, and that we shall ere long meet. If the man you mention be guilty, I hope he will be punished; I
I explained to Serajélhak, the person mentioned by Sir William Jones, Parnel's Hermit, and he composed a Persian poem on the same subject. As it has been frequently transcribed, it might perhaps, without this explanation, at some future time be considered the original of Parnel's poem. His physician..
hate favouritism; and if I had the dominions of Chingis Klian, I would not have one favourite.
The poem of Washi has greatly delighted me; it almost equals Metastasio's on a similar subject, and far surpasses other Wasukts* which I have seen; yet the beautiful simplicity of the old Arabs, in their short elegies, appears unrivalled by any thing in Persian. I transcribe one of them which I have just read in the Hamasat :
Cease, fruitless tears! afflicted bosom, rest!
Sir WILLIAM JONES to Mr. Justice HYDE.
June 5, 1789. Though I do not wish to give you the pain of sympathizing (as I know you will sympathize) with me in my present distress, yet as you possibly know it, and as you might think me unusually dejected when we meet, I cannot forbear writing to you; especially as I feel a kind of relief in venting my sorrow to an approved friend. One or two English papers mention the death of Lady Jones's father, in such a manner, as to leave me no hope of its being a mistake; this I have known since the 15th of May, but as it may possibly be untrue, I could not in any degree prepare her for the dreadful intelligence. I have therefore taken effectual measures to keep it secret from her, but it is a secret which cannot long, be kept; and the bare idea of the pang, which she too soon must feel, and the probable effects of that pang on her delicate constitution, now particularly enervated by the hot season, give me a
* Wasukt, the appellation of an amatory elegy, descriptive of the various sensations and passions excited by love. + The original is omitted.