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The Court of Directors of the East-India Company embraced an early opportunity of testifying their respect for the merit of Sir William Jones. By an unanimous vote of the Court, it was resolved, that a monument to bis memory should be ordered, for the purpose of being erected in St. Paul's Cathedral, with a suitable inscription, and that a statue of Sir William Jones should be prepared at the expence of the Company, and sent to Bengal with directions for its being placed in a proper situation there.
The posthumous honours paid to his memory by a society of gentlemen in Bengal, who had received their education at Oxford, were no less liberal than appropriate. They subscribed a sum to be given as a prize for the best dissertation on his character and merits, by any of the students at that University ; and the proposal, with the sanction of the heads of the University, having been carried into execution, the premium was adjudged to Mr. Henry Philpotts, A. M., Fellow of Magdalen College.
The expectations of my readers would be disappointed, if I were not to mention the solicitude of Lady Jones, and the means adopted by her, for perpetuating the fame of a husband, with whom she had lived in the closest union of esteem and affection. Without dwelling upon the elegant monument erected to his memory at her expense, in the anti-chamber of University College Oxford, her regard for his reputation was more effectually evinced, by the publication of his works in an elegant edition of six quarto volumes, in strict conformity to his opinion, that “ The best monument that can be “ erected to a man of literary talents, is a good edition of his 66 works.”
On the 27th of January 1795, Sir William Jones was unanimously elected a corresponding member of the Historical Society of Massa
chusetts. The society had soon the mortification to learn, that, nine months before the date of their vote, the object of their intended distinction was no more. The following letter, notifying the resolution of the society, was addressed, by the president of it, to Sir William Jones:
Boston, Feb. 7, 1795. As president, and by the direction of the Massachusetts Historical Society, I have the honour to inclose you a vote of that corporation, by which you are elected a member of it.
You have also by this conveyance a few publications, and a copy of our charter: by the latter you will see, as well the legal date, as the design of our institution. We possess a large hall in the centre of Boston, where we deposit those books, publications, and other matters, which may have a tendency to fix and illustrate the political, civil, and natural history of this continent: and we have been very successful in our attempts to collect materials for that purpose.
Your character, and the attention which the world allows you to have paid to learning of this kind, have induced us to pursue such measures as we hope will obtain your good wishes, and friendly regard : and we shall have great pleasure in forwarding to you,
from time to time, such other books and publications, as we may suppose to be acceptable to you.
Any observations from you, or any member of the society in which you preside, illustrating those facts which compose the natural history of America, or of any other part of the world, will be received as valuable marks of
As the correspondence of literary and philosophical societies, established in different nations, is an intercourse of true philanthropy, and has a manifest tendency to increase that friendship, and to support that harmony in the great family of mankind, on which the happiness of the world so much depends, it can never solicit your aid without success.
I have the honour to be,
It is certainly to be greatly regretted, that Sir William Jones did not live to translate the digest of Hindu law, in the compilation of which he had bestowed so much time and attention. It is however satisfactory to know, that his benevolent intevtions in this laborious work have not been disappointed, and that Mr. H.T. Colebrooke, in the civil service of the East-India Company at Bengal, from motives of public spirit, and a laudable hope of distinction, bas completed a translation of it, with an ability which does him the highest credit. This voluminous work was undertaken and executed by Mr. Colebrooke, under the pressure of unintermitted official occupations, and is a proof of literary industry rarely exceeded.
For the gratification of the reader's curiosity, I insert the short but characteristic translation of the Preface of the Hindu Compilers of the Digest.
PREFACE BY THE COMPILERS.
Having saluted the Ruler of Gods, the Lord of Beings, and the King of Dangers, Lord of Divine Classes, the Daughter of the King of Mountains, the venerable Sages, and the reverend Authors of Books, I, JAGANAT’HA, Son of Budra, by command
of the Protectors of the Land, compile this book, intitled, The Sea of controversial Waves, perspicuous, diffusive, with its islands and gems, pleasing to the princes and the learned.
What is my intellect, a crazy boat, compared with the sacred code, that perilous ocean? The favour of the Supreme Ruler is my sole refuge, in traversing that ocean with this crazy vessel.
The learned Radhacanta Gonespresada, of firm and spotless mind, Ramamóhana Ramanidhee Ganasyama, and Gungadhara, a league of assiduous pupils, must effect the completion of this work, which shall gratify the minds of princes :-of this I have unquestioned certainty.
Embarking on ships, often do men undaunted traverse the perilous deep, aided by long cables, and impelled by propitious gales.
Having viewed the title of loans, and the rest as promulged by wise legislators, in codes of laws, and as expounded by former intelligent authors;
And having meditated their obscure passages with the lessons of venerable teachers, the whole is now delivered by me.