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arithmetic, and was particularly gratified with an invitation to attend the meetings of learned and ingenious men, at the house of that amiable philosopher, Mr. Baker, and his friend Mr. Pond. As an introduction to the knowledge of the subjects discussed in this literary society, by the particular recommendation of his mother, he read the Spectacle de la Nature: he acknowledged, however, that he was more entertained with the Arabian Tales, and Shakespeare, whose poems and plays he repeatedly perused with increased delight.
In the usual recreations of his school-fellows at Harrow, Jones was rarely a partaker; and the hours which they allotted to amusement, he generally devoted to improvement. The following anecdote strongly indicates the turn of his mind, and the impression made by his studies. He invented a political play, in which Dr. William Bennet*, Bishop of Cloyne, and the celebrated Dr. Parr, were his principal associates. They divided the fields in the neighbourhood of Harrow, ac. cording to a map of Greece, into states and kingdoms; each fixed upon one as his dominion, and assumed an ancient name. Some of their schoolfellows consented to be styled barbarians, who were to invade their territories and attack their hillocks, which were denominated fortresses. The chiefs vigorously defended their respective domains against the incursions of the enemy; and in these imitative wars, the young statesmen held councils, made vehement harangues, and composed memorials, all doubtless very boyish, but calculated to fill their minds with ideas of legislation and civil government. In these unusual amusements, Jones was ever the leader : and he might justly have appropriated to himself the words of Catullus ;
* The Bishop of Cloyne, in a letter to the Dean of St. Asaph, dated November 1795, mentions Sir William Jones in terms of respect and affection:-“ I knew him (he writes) from the carly age of eight or “pine, and he was always an uncommon boy, Great abilities, great
particularity of thinking, fondness for writing verses and plays of “ various kinds, and a degree of integrity and manly courage, of which “ I remember many instances, distinguished him even at that period. “ I loved him and revered him, and, though one or two years older “than he was, was always instructed by him from my earliest
age. “In a word, I can only say of this amiable and wonderful man, that “ he had more virtues and less faults, than I ever yet saw in any human “ being; and that the goodness of his head, admirable as it was, was “ exceeded by that of his heart. I have never ceased to admire him " from the moment I first saw him; and my esteem for his great qualir* ties, and regret for his loss, will only end with my life."
Ego gymnasii flos, ego decus olei, Dr. Thackeray retired from the superintendance of the school at Harrow, when his pupil had attained his fifteenth year. It was a singular trait in the character of this good man and respectable tutor, that he never applauded the best compositions of his scholars, from a notion which he had adopted, that praise only tended to make them vain or idle. But the opinion which he gave of Jones in private was, that he was a boy of so .active a mind, that if he were left naked and friendless on Salisbury Plain, he would nevertheless find the road to fame and riches.
Dr. Thackeray was succeeded by Dr. Sumner; and for his information of the course of study pursued at Harrow, a plan of the lectures and exercises in the
upper school was accurately delineated by Jones, at the suggestion of the principal assistant, who presented it to the new master, with many encomiums on the talents of his favourite scholar. He annexed to it a collection of his compositions, including his translation of the pastorals of Virgil. Dr. Sumner quickly distinguished him; and of the two complete years which he passed under that excellent instructor, it is sufficient to say, that he employed them in reading and imitating the best ancient authors; nor did he confine himself merely to the compositions of Greece and Rome; he learned the Arabic characters, and studied the Hebrew language sufficiently to enable him to read some of the Psalms in the original. His ardour for knowledge was so unlimited, that he frequently devoted whole nights to study, taking coffee or tea as an antidote to drowsiness; and his improvement by these extraordinary exertions was so rapid, that he soon became the prime favourite of his master, who with an excusable partiality was heard to declare, that Jones knew more Greek than him. self, and was a greater proficient in the idiom of that language. Nor was he less a favourite with his fellow-students than with his master. quired popularity with them, by the frequent holidays that rewarded the excellence of his compositions. His reputation at the same time was so
extensive, that he was often flattered by the enquiries of strangers, under the title of the Great Scholar.
Of his juvenile' compositions in prose and verse, the early fruits of rare talents and unbounded industry, some have been printed in the fragment of a work which he began at school and intitled Limon*, in imitation of Cicero. During the last months of his residence at Harrow, Dr. Sumner not only dispensed with his attendance at school, but was obliged to interdict his application, in consequence of a weakness of sight contracted by it. His compositions were not however discontinued; and he obtained the assistance of the younger students to write them from bis dictation. He employed the intervals of suspended duty; which he was reluctantly compelled to admit in learning chess, by practising the games of Philidor,
During the vacations, his application was directed to improve his knowledge of French and arithmetic, to which he also added the study of the Italian. Books he had always at command; for his mother, who contemplated with delight the progress of her son, with a wise liberality allowed him unlimited credit on her purse. But of this indulgence, as he knew that her finances were restricted, he availed himself no further than to purchase such books as were essential to his improvement.
* Works of Sir William Jones, vol. ii. p. 627.
I shall here transcribe, without alteration or omission, a letter which the young student, at the age of fourteen, wrote to his sister, to console her for the death of a friend.
When I received your letter, I was very concerned to hear the death of your friend Mr. Reynolds, which I consider as a piece of affliction common to us both. For although my knowledge of his name or character is of no long date, and though I never had any personal acquaintance with him, yet (as you observe) we ought to regret the loss of every honourable man; and if I had the pleasure of your conversation, I would certainly give you any consolatory advice that lay in my power, and make it my business to convince you what a real share I take in your chagrin. And yet, to reason philosophically, I cannot help thinking any grief upon a person's death very superfluous, , and inconsistent with sense; for what is the cause of our sorrow? Is it because we hate the person deceased ? that were to imply strange contradiction, to express our joy by the common signs of sorrow. If, on the other hand, we grieve for one who was dear to us, I should reply that we should, on the contrary, rejoice at his having left a state so perilous and uncertain as life is. The common strain is; “ 'Tis pity so virtuous a man should die:”—but I assert the contrary; and when I hear the death of a person of merit, I cannot help