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* Mr. JONES to H. A. SCHULTENS.
July 1774. This letter will be presented to you by Mr. Campbell, a young gentleman of great modesty and worth, and I recommend him to your particular attention. He intends going to India as a merchant, but, previous to his embarkation, wishes to give some time to the study of foreign languages, European and Asiatic, and particularly the Persian. Any assistance which you may afford him in his studies, or other little affairs, I shall esteem a favour done to myself, and he will consider it a great obligation.
How goes on our Hariri ? Will it ever be published with your elucidations ? My time is employed in the courts; and whatever leisure I can command is exclusively devoted to the study of law and history. I hope you have received my Commentaries, which I sent you. Farewell.
* H. A. SCHULTENS to Mr. JONES,
The phoenix of his time, and the ornament of the age-Health!
Amsterdam, Sept. 1774. When I reflect, my dear Jones, upon the fortunate period, which I passed in your happy island, I feel the most exquisite delight at the recollection of the pleasure and improvement, which I derived from your society; at the same time, my anxiety for your company excites the most lively regret at our separation. If I cannot altogether conquer it, I can at least alleviate it by corresponding with you.
* Appendix, No. 24.
+ Appendix, No. 25.
Nothing but a variety of unusual occupations could have delayed my writing to you so long after my return to Amsterdam ; I was moreover apprehensive of interrupting your studies by my intrusion. The receipt of the obliging present of your Commentaries, has removed all my fear on this account, and affords me a most agreeable proof of your remembravce. Accept my sincerest thanks for your finished and most elegant work, which I have eagerly read again and again with admiration and astonishment.
As sincere a lover as yourself of the Muses, how much I regret their unhappy lot, that whilst they have so few admirers, one of their most distinguished votaries should be seduced from their service by the discordant broils of the bar ! Do they not then possess such charms and graces as to merit a preference to others, who have no portion but wealth and honour ? Is not their beauty so attractive, their dress so elegant and enchanting, as- to fascinate their admirers to a degree, which makes them despise all others, and feel no delight but in their society ? Forgive, my dear Jones, this friendly expostulation.
Two or three copies only of your work have reached us; I beg you will not suffer the inattention of booksellers to deprive us of a Jarger supply. You will receive shortly a little inaugural discourse which I pronounced here, On extending the limits of Oriental literature. It was done too much in haste to be as perfect as it ought to have been, and as I could have made it with more leisure. The office which I hold here is most agreeable to me, but is attended with this inconvenience, that the duties of it allow me no time for the pursuit of other studies ; and the attention which I am forced to bestow on grammatical institutions, on explanatory lectures on the Old Testament, and in disquisitions on the Jewish antiquities, precludes the perusal of Arabic, and still more of Persian authors. But I submit the more cheerfully to this restraint, as the assiduity of my present exertions will produce more leisure in future; and when I have once committed to paper the mass of lectures which I have annually to repeat, I shall then be at full liberty to employ myself as I please. I have absolutely determined to publish Meidani, but it will require the labour of ten years : you well know, that without a competent knowledge, not only of the language of the East, but of Oriental history, ceremonies, and manners, it would be madness to attempt it. Whether my labours will ever have the assistance of a midwife, time must shew. Professor Scheidius is employed in publishing Giewhari : the expense of the undertaking far exceeds his means, but he hopes to provide against this difficulty, by publishing one, or more numbers annually, according to alphabetical arrangement, by which means the sale of each may furnish the expense of the succeeding.
I have nothing further to communicate to you, but I most anxiously long to see you. If you have the ambition of your countryman, Banks, to expose yourself to the inclemency of winter by visiting me here, all my fear of the cold will be lost in the hope, that a long and intense frost say detain you. Nothing however can give me more pleasure, either in winter or summer, than to have you for my guest. My wife, whom I married about five months since, is equally anxious to see a man, of whom she hears her husband perpetually talking; she, as well as my father, who received inexpressible delight in the perusal of your Commentaries, desires to be remembered to you; he entertains the highest respect and esteem for you. Let me know how you are, and whether your mother and sister are well. Do me the favour also to inform them, that I shall ever remember with gratitude the obligations which I owe to their great politeness and attention to me. Consider me ever
as the humble servant of yourself and friends.-Farewell, and love me ever.
P.S. I almost forgot to mention our Damascene prince; his name, I think, is Joseph Abas. I regret that during his residence at this place, he only called upon me two days before his departure for Brussels. I was highly delighted with his liberal, manly, and truly Arabian spirit; neither did he appear deficient in polite literature, but of this you are a better judge than I am. For my own part, I must ever retain a regard for a man, whose conversation so entertained and interested me, under the attack of a fever, that it absolutely prevented the return of it.
* Mr. JONES to H. A. SCHULTENS.
October 1774. I have had the pleasure to receive your letter dated in September, which did not however reach me, till after my return to London, from a summer excursion to the Kentish coast.
I am highly gratified by your father's and your approbation of my Commentaries, and I acknowledge the kindness of your friendly and polite expostulation in telling me that you cannot bear to see me desert the cause of literature. But, my friend, the die is cast, and I have no longer a choice; all my books and manuscripts, with an exception of those only which relate to law and oratory, are locked up at Oxford, and I have determined, for the next twenty years at least, to renounce all studies but those which are connected with my profession. It is needless to trouble you with my reasons at length for this determination, I will cnly * Appendix, No. 26.
say, say, that if I had lived at Rome or Athens, I should have preferred the labours, studies, and dangers of their orators and illustrious citizens, connected as they were with banishment and even death, to the groves of the poets, or the gardens of the philosophers. Here I adopt the same resolution. The Constitution of England is in no respect inferior to that of Rome or Athens; this is my fixed opinion, which I formed in my earliest years, and shall ever retain. Although I sincerely acknowledge the charms of polite literature, I must at the same time adopt the sentiment of Neoptolemus in the tragedy, that we can philosophize with a few only; and no less the axiom of Hippocrates, that life is short, art long, and time swift. But I will also maintain the excellence and the delight of other studies. What! shall we deny that there is pleasure in mathematics, when we recollect Archimedes, the prince of geometricians, who was so intensely absorbed in the demonstration of a problem, that he did not discover Syracuse was taken? Can we conceive any study more important, than the single one of the laws of our own country? Let me recall to your recollection the observations of L. Crassus and Q. Scævola on this subject, in the treatise of Cicero de Oratore. What! do you imagine the goddess of eloquence to possess less attractions than Thalia or Polyhymnia, or have you forgotten the epithets which Ennius bestows on Cethegus, the quintessence of eloquence, and the flower of the people? Is there a man existing who would not rather resemble Cicero, (whom I wish absolutely to make my model, both in the course of his life and studies,) than be like Varro, however learned, or Lucretius, however ingenious as a poet? If the study of the law were really unpleasant and disgusting, which is far from the truth, the example of the wisest of the antients, and of Minerva herself, the goddess of wisdom and protectress of Athens, would justify me in preferring the fruitful and useful olive to the barren laurel.