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mourously alludes in his letter to Reviczki, was a letter in French, addressed to Monsieur Anquetil du Perron, and printed in 1771. The Frenchinan had published, in three quarto volumes, an account of his travels in India, the life of Zoroaster, and some supposed works of that philosopher. To this publication he prefixed a discourse, in which he treated the University of Oxford, and some of its learned members and friends of Mr. Jones, with ridicule and disrespect. From the perusal of his works, Mr. Jones was little disposed to agree with Monsieur du Perron, in the boasted importance of his communications; he was disgusted with his vanity and petulance, and particularly offended by his illiberal attack upon the University, which he respected, and upon
the he esteemed and admired. The letter which he addressed to M. du Perron was anonymous, it was written with great force, and expresses his indig, nation and contempt with a degree of asperity, which the judgement of maturer years would have disapproved. Professor Biorn Sthal, a Swedish Orientalist, says of it, that he had known many Frenchmen so far mistaken in the writer, as to ascribe it to some bel esprit of Paris. Such in their opinion was the brilliancy and correctness of its style. Dr. Hunt, the Laudian Professor of Arabic, at Oxford, who had been contemptuously mentioned by Du Perron, addressed the two following letters to Mr. Jones on this occasion:
Ch. Church, Oct. 25, 1771. I have now found the translation of all the remains of Zoroaster, mentioned in your last; and think, upon an attentive perusal of it, that the account which Dr. Fraser has given of it is true.
I never told Perron that I understood the ancient Persic language; and I am authorized by Mr. Swinton, who was present all the time Perron was with me, to say, that he never heard me tell
I might perhaps say, that I knew the old Persic character, as given by Dr. Hyde ; but to a further knowledge of the language I never pretended, nos could I tell him that I did. But for a proof of the veracity of this fellow, I beg leave to Tefer you to page 461 of his preliminary discourse, where he says, that he made me a present of a fine Sanskirrit (or,'as he calls it, Sanskrotan) alphabet, and that he promised Dr. Barton and Mr. Swinton, to send them alphabets of the several Asiatic languages; whereas he neither made me the present, nor performed the promise to them. Mr. Swinton says, he can furnish us with other instances of this Frenchman's veracity, which he has promised to do in a few days. In the mean time, I am, &c.
Ch. Charch, Nov. 28, 1771.
I received the welcome present of your excellent pamphlet against Perron* in due time, and yesterday I was favoured with your
kind * Works, vol. iv. p. 583.
letter; haps * Mons. Anquetil du Perron made a voyage to India, in 1753, for the purpose of acquiring the ancient language of Persia, and that of the Bramins. His ardour for this undertaking was so great, that he engaged himself to the French East-India Company as a private soldier, as affording the speediest means of accomplishing the voyage, but some friends procured his discharge, and a small pension for him
letter; for both which I return you my hearty thanks. I should have thanked
your pamphlet sooner, bụt have been out of town. I have read it over and over again, and think the whole nation, as well as the University and its members, are much obliged to you for this able and spirited defence. I acknowledge myself to be so in a particular manner, and so does Mr. Swinton, who desires his compliments and thanks. But there is one thing which Mr. Swinton seems to doubt of, which is, whether there has been such a general destruction of the writings of the ancient Persians as you imagine there has been. For my own part, till some better proof can be given of the authenticity of those books, which have been produced as the genuine compositions of that ancient people, than what I have yet seen given, I am inclined to be of your opinion. At least, this I am sure of, that if the books, which Alexander, Omar, &c. destroyed, were no better than those which have been published, the world has had no great loss; witness the insufferable jargon which you have given from their writings in the 38th and 41st, &c. pages of your letter; to which, as this bulky performance of Perron* will be but in few hands, it may not perhaps be amiss to add some others. But, as Mr. Swinton has suggested, that he has some doubts about the fate of the writings of the old Persians, I think you would do well to consult him, before you publish your English translation.
I am glad you intend to oblige the world with an English translation of your letter; and if, among the anecdotes which Mr. Swinton sent you, you will be so good as to insert that, wherein he says, that he was present all the time that Perron from the Crown of France. He arrived at Pondicherry, in 1755, and, after travelling over various parts of India, by the assistance of the Government of Bombay, he was enabled to return to Europe in an English vessel, and landed at Portsmouth in November 1761. Hc brought with him many Oriental manuscripts, which he afterwards carried to France, and in 1771 published three quarto volumes, containing an account of his travels, and the information which he had obtained in the course of them, under the general title of Zind-Avesta, Ouvrage de Zoroaster.
In a discourse addressed to the Asiatic Society at Calcutta, in 1789, Sir William Jones speaks of him, as having had the merit of under" taking a voyage to India in his earliest youth, with no other view than " to recover the writings of Zeratusht (Zoröaster), and who would have " acquired a brilliant reputation in France, if he had not sullied it by “ his immoderate vanity and virulence of temper, which alienated the "good-will even of his own countrymen.” In the same discourse, he affirms, that M. Anquetil most certainly had no knowledge of Sanscrit.
In 1798, M. Anquetil published a work, intitled, “ L'Inde en rapport " avec l'Europe,” which is more remarkable for the virulence of its invectives against the English, and for its numerous niisrepresentations, than for the information which it contains, or the soundness of the reflections which it conveys. In the summary of its contents, stated in the title-page, he professes to give a detailed, accurate, and terrific picture of the English Machiavelisin in India ; and he addresses his work in a ranting bombast dedication to the names of Dupleix and Labourdonnais. It does not appear that the temper of M. A. has been meliorated, although he had then nearly attained his 70th year.
was with me, but does not remember that I ever told him that I understood the ancient Persian language, I shall be much obliged to you. sure I never pretended, nor could pretend, to any further knowledge of it, than that of the alphabet, as given by Dr. Hyde. I am, &c.
The small volume of poenis*, consisting chiefly of translations from the Asiatic language, with two prose dissertations annexed, was published in 1772. We may be allowed to smile at the solicitude, which Mr. Jones expresses in his correspondence on the subject of this publication, to avoid the imputation of devoting that time to the Muses, which belonged to his professional studies, whilst we participate with pleasure the effects of his devotion to the objects of his admiration : but his anxiety for his literary reputation, in deferring the publication of his poems until they had received all the improvements which care and attention, assisted by the criticisms of his friends, could bestow, is highly praise-worthy.
On the 30th of April, 1772, Mr. Jones was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and admitted on May the 14th of the same year.
He does not appear to have communicated any paper for the Philosophical Transactions.
From the first entrance of Mr. Jones into the University, until Michaelmas 1768, when he took the degree of A. B., he had kept the terms regular* Works, vol. iv. p. 399.