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"rules and ordinances by which nations, eminent “ for wisdom, and illustrious in arts, have regu. “lated their civil polity: nor is this the only fruit " that he may expect to reap from a general
knowledge of foreign laws, both ancient and “modern; for whilst he indulges the liberal curi.
osity of a scholar in examining the customs and “ institutions of men, whose works have yielded “ him the highest delight, and whose actions have “ raised his admiration, he will feel the satisfac“tion of a patriot, in observing the preference “ due in most instances to the laws of his own
country above those of all other states; or, if “his just prospects in life give him hopes of becoming a legislator, he
hints, for the improvement even of that fabric, “which his ancestors have erected with infinite “exertions of virtue and genius, but which, like “all human systems, will ever advance nearer to “perfection, and ever fall short of it.”
I quote the preceding observations from his prefatory discourse, which is written with uncommon elegance, and particularly interesting, not only from the information which it contains respecting the author whose works he illustrated, but for its critical remarks on the comparative merits of the Grecian orators, and for his dissertation on the Attic laws of succession, and the forms of pleading in the Athenian courts. no small credit to Mr. Jones to have successfully accomplished what Sir Matthew Hale, “to whose
learning and diligence the present age is no less “indebted, than his contemporaries were to his wis“ down and virtue,” had unsuccessfully attempted.
The works of Isæus are dedicated to Earl Bathurst; and Mr. Jones takes occasion, in the epistle dedicatory, to inform the public, that, although he had received many signal marks of friendship from a number of illustrious persons, Lord Bathurst had veen his greatest, his only benefactor; that, without any solicitation, or even request on his part, his Lordship gave him a substantial and permanent token of regard, rendered still more valuable by the obliging manner of giving it, and literally the sole fruit which he had gathered from an incessant course of very painful labour. He adds his further acknowledgements for the more extended intentions of his Lurdship, although he had not then derived any benefit from them.
This was the only publication of Mr. Jones, in 1778; which, however it might tend to increase his reputation, did not perhaps much advance his professional success. He had however every reason to be satisfied with the proportion of business that fell to his share, during the circuits, which he regularly attended.
Mr. Jones had transmitted a copy of his translation to Edmund Burke; and the following letter contains his acknowledgement of the favour. The opinion of a great orator on any subject connected with that of his constant meditations, will not be read without interest. 02
MY DEAR SIR,
Alarch 12, 1779. . I give you many thanks for your most obliging and valuable present, and feel myself extremely honoured by this mark of of your friendship. My first leisure will be employed in an attentive perusal of an author, who had merit enough to fill up a part
have made accessible to me with an ease and advantage, wbich one so many years disused to Greek literature as I have been, could not otherwise have. Isæus is an author of whom I know nothing but by fame; I am sure that any idea I had from thence conceived of him, will not be at all lessened by seeing him in your translation. I do not know how it has happened, that orators liave hitherto fared worse in the hands of the translators, than even the poets ; I never could bear to read a translation of Cicero. Demosthenes suffers I thiok somewhat less ;—but he suffers greatly; so much, that I must say, that no English reader could well conceive from whence he had acquired the reputation of the first of orators. I am satisfied that there is now an eminent exception to this rule, and I sincerely congratulate the public on that acquisition. I am, with the greatest truth and regard, my dear Sir, Your most faithful and obliged humble servant,
Of the incidents in the life of Mr. Jones during the years 1778 and 1779, I have no particular in
formation; we may suppose his time and attention to have been principally engrossed by his professional duties and studies, and the political circumstances of the times. His own letters, always interesting, and often instructive, with those of his correspondents, contain all that I know of him during this period; the latter afford additional evidence of the esteem in which his learning, abilities, and principles were held by men of high reputation in the rank of literature.
Mr. SWINNEY to Mr. JONES.
Pera of Constantinople, January 1, 1778.
So high an opinion do I entertain of your humanity and politeness, as to persuade myself you will readily pardon the liberty I have taken of sending you a Persian and Grecian manuscript. If, on perusal of one or the other book, you shall meet with a single passage that may contribute either to your instruction or amusement, my purpose will be fully answered.
Among the real curiosities I have seen at Constantinople, is a public museum, erected at the sole cxpence of a most learned Grand Visir, whose name and title was Rajib Pacha. This collection contains about two thousand Arabian, Persian, and Turkish manuscripts, which, the learned say, contain vast stores of erudition. It is not improbable but I may be able, on some favourable occasion, to procure you a copy of the catalogue; and then, should you be disposed to have any of
the manuscripts copied, I intreat you will confer the honour upon me of executing the commission. People assure me, but I dare not say whether with good authority or no, that the entire Decades of Livy, and the complete History of Curtius, are contained in that very precious repository : if so, who knows but majesty itself (so superlatively happy are we in a monarch who favours the arts and sciences !) may graciously condescend to command a copy of them?
Be pleased to accept of my warmest wishes for your health, prosperity, and very long life: and believe me to be (what I sincerely am) a lasting admirer of
your abilities; and at the same time, dear Sir, &c.
3d October, 1778 I have to acknowledge the receipt of your most obliging letter. It is impossible for me to express the value in which I hold the favourable sentiments
you have conveyed to me; and above all, that strain of cordiality and friendship which accompany them. The loss of that long letter or dissertation, into which my performance was about to entice you, is a matter of infinite regret to me: but I hope that the object which then engaged more particularly your attention, and which was so worthy of it, is now within your reach; that the fates are to comply with your desires, and to place you
in a scene where so much honour and so many laurels are to be won and gathered.