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I have mentioned that Mr. Jones was callcit to the bar in 1774, but he declined practice; from this period however he seems to have been fully sensible of the necessity of Lievoting himself exclusively to his legal studies. The ambition of obtaining distinction in his profession could not fail to animate a mind always ardent in the pursuit of the objects which it had in view, nor was he of a temper to be satisfied with mediocrity, where perfection was attainable. His researches and studies were not confined to any one branch of jurisprudence, but embraced the whole in its fullest extent. He . compared the doctrines and principles of ancient legislators, with the later improvements in the science of law, he collated the various codes of the different states of Europe, and collected professional knowledge wherever it was to be found. If the reader recollects the enthusiasm displayed by Mr. Jones in the prosecution of his Oriental studies, the extent and depth of his attainments in the literature of Asia, and the high reputation which he had acquired from them, he will readily applaud his resolution and perseverance in renouncing his favourite pursuits. That he acted wisely, will be admitted, but the sacrifice of inclination to duty, affords an example of too great use and importance to pass without particular observation.
In 1775, for the first time, he attended the spring circuit and sessions at Oxford, but whether as a spectator, or actor, on that occasion, I am not informed. In the following year, he was regular in his attendance at Westminster-Hall..
The only part of his correspondence of this year which I possess, is a letter to his friend Schultens, and I insert it as a memorial of an incident in his life.
* Mc. JONES to H. A. SCHULTENS.
December 1776. Behold me now no longer a free man; me, who ever considered perfect liberty superior to every thing! Under the impression of the most eager desire to see you, I promised to visit Amsterdam this year, but I am detained in London by various and important occupations. The fact is, that I am appointed one of the sixty commissioners of bankrupts. It is an office of great use, but little emolument; it confines me however to London during the greatest part of the year. Add to this, my necessary studies, my practice at the bar, and the duty of giving opinions on legal cases: submitted by clients. However, I read the Grecian orators again and again, and have translated into English the most useful orations; of Isæus. How go on Meidani and Hariri ? Continue, I beseech you, your labours upon them, with due regard however to your health.
Notwithstanding the increasing application of Mr. Jones to the duties and studies of his profession, and his attention to politicah transactions, the philosophical discoveries of the times did not escape his observation. The hopes and fears of the nation were at this period anxiously engaged in the event of the unfortunate contest, which had taken place between the mother country and her colonies, and whilst the justice of the war, and the expectation of a successful conclusion of it, were maintained by one party, by another their sentiments were opposed, and their measures arraigned and condemned. But it is no part of my plan to invade the province of the historian by discussing the questions of those times These cursory remarks are chiefly introduced as preliminary to the * Appendix, No. 32.
insertion of two letters from Mr. Jones to Lord Althorpe, with whom he continued to cultivate that friendship which had so. naturally been formed between the tutor and the pupil. I add also a short letter to Schultens, in answer to one which Mr. Jones had received from him, requesting him to assist by his own contributions a new publication, then on foot in Holland, and complaining of his finances in a style calculated to console his friend for renouncing the haunts of the Muses, for the thorny but more productive field: of the law..
Mr. JONES to Lord ALTHORPE.
Temple, Nov. 13. As I have a few minutes of leisure this evening, can I employ them better than in writing to my friend? I hasten, my dear Lord, to impart to you the pleasure I received to-day, fronı seeing a series of experiments exhibited by Mr. Walsh on the American eel, by which he clearly proved that the animal. has a sensation wholly distinct from any of the five senses. When he announced the proposition to be demonstrated, I thought it might possibly be true, but could not conceive how a new sense could be made perceptible to any sense of inine, as I imagined it would be like talking to 'a dèaf man of harmonic sounds, or to one who had. no palate, of nectarines and pine apples; but he produced the fullest conviction in me, that his position was in a degree just.. His first experiment was by fixing four wires, about two inches in. the water where the fish was swimming, one in each quarter of the elliptical trough; each of these wires communicated with a large glass of water placed on a table at a little distance, though the distance signified nothing, for the experiment, had the wires been long enough, might have been conducted in another room ; while the four glasses remained separate, the gymnotus (for that is his technical name) was perfectly insensible of the wires, but in the
very instant when a communication was made by an instrument between any two of the glasses, he seemed to start, and swam directly to the wires which were thus joined, paying no attention to the others, till a junction was made between them also. This could not be sight, because he did not see the wires while they were insulated, though they were equally conspicuous; it could not be feeling (at least not like our feeling) because the water was not in the least agitated; still less could it be hearing, and least of all smell, or taste. It was therefore a distinct electrical sense of feeling, or power of conceiving any stronger conductor than the water around him, for which reason he did not perceive the wires till their junction, because they were at the extremities of the tub, and so little in the water, that they were less powerful conductors. Several other experiments were exhibited with equal success; one of them only I will mention. A triangular instrument of brass was held over the tub, and one of the legs placed gently in the water, to which the fish was wholly inattentive, though he swam close to it; but when the other leg was immersed to complete the circulation, he instantly started. It is by this faculty that the wonderful animal has notice of his prey, and of his enemies. These are pleasant amusements, and objects of a just curiosity when they fall occasionally in our way; but such experiments might have been exhibited at Paris, Madrid, or Petersburgh, where the philosophers, who are discovering new senses in other animals, are not permitted to use their own freely; and believe me, my dear Lord, it is not by electrical experiments, nor by triangular instruments, nor by conductors of wire, that we shall be able to avert the black storm which hangs over us. Let you and me, therefore, be philosophers now and then, but citizens always; let us sometimes observe with eagerness the satellites of Jupiter, but let us incessantly watch with jealousy the satellites of the King. Do you hear any certain intelligence concerning America ? Mr. Owen Cambridge has just informed me, that a New York Gazette is brought over, in which the late uncertain accounts are confirmed in their full extent, with this important addition, that three counties of Maryland have offered not only submission, but assistance to General Howe. This may, or may not be true.-Farewell.
Mr. JONES to LORD ALTHORPE.
November 22. I rejoice, my dear friend, that you have acquired that ingenuous distrust, which Epicharmus calls a sinew of wisdom. It is certain that doubt impels us to enquire, and enquiry often ends in conviction. You will be able when you come to London, to examine with the minutest scrupulosity, as Johnson would call it, the properties of that singular animal, who is in the rivers of South America, what Jupiter was feigned to be among the gods, a darter of lightning, and should be named aspartonpomos, instead of gymnotus. He certainly has (if an academic may venture to affirm any thing) a mode of perception peculiar to himself; but whether that perception can properly be called a new sense, I leave you to determine: it is a modification indeed of feeling, but are not all our senses so? I desire however, that in this and in every thing, you will form your own judgment. As to the wadey devería of our noble Constitution, which has happily presented itself to your imagination, the very idea fixes me with rapture. No, my dear Lord, never believe that any thing is impossible to virtue; no, if ten such as you conceive such sentiments as your letter contains, and express them as forcibly, if you retain these sentiments, as you certainly will, when you take your place in parliament, I will not d'espair of seeing the most glorious of sights, a nation freely governed by its own laws.. This I promise, that, if such a decemvirate should ever attempt to restore our constitutional liberty by constitutional means, I would exert in their cause, such talents as I have, and, even if I were