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would have been repeated by detached sentences (which might have • made no small alteration in the sense) in several companies in the
University. Still less should I have expected to find myself charged with misrepresenting (a serious word!) facts, of which I would, if necessary, make a deposition, and with writing what it must have appeared from strong internal evidence, that I could not have written ; because it contained a mistake as to the number of our lay-fellows, which I (who know and esteem Mr. Ray) could never have made. Least of all could I have expected to be accused of wishing to overturn a constitution, which I prize, because I understand it, and which I would sacrifice my life to preserve. All these charges, God and my conscience enable me to bear with the coolest indifference, and with little abatement of that respect with which I ever have been, &c.
Mr. JONES to Mr. CARTWRIGHT.
Sept. 8, 1780. Your last favour I have this instant received, and am obliged to answer it in the greatest haste. I hope you have by this time received my letter, in which I informed you that I had declined a poll at Oxford, but was as much obliged to you and my other friends as if your kindness had been attended with the most brilliant success. I saw an advertisement also in the paper, that Dr. Scott had declined.
* * * * * * I have been told, that the very ode to which you are so indulgent, lost me near twenty votes ; this, however, I am unwilling to believe." I am, &c.
:: WILLIAM Jones.
The conduct of Mr. Jones, throughout the business of the election, displays his characteristical integrity and manly principles. To
have succeeded, would have been most honourable to him ; his failure was attended with no disgrace. From the letters written or received by him on this occasion, a much larger selection might have been made, and many persons of the first respectability named, as the unsolicited supporters of Mr. Jones. It was greatly to his, credit, that with no other influence than that of his character and abilities, he should have been deemed worthy of being nominated a candidate to represent the University of Oxford, one of the most distinguished in the world for science and virtue. His affectionate attachment to this seat of learning, and his respectful veneration for it, were known and admitted, as well as the spirit of independence which at all times, and under all circuinstances, marked his character. His opinion respecting the effect of his Ode to Liberty, on the disposition of some of the voters, countenances the suspicions of his friend Schultens; it is certain, however, that if he had succeeded in his election he would have employed all the superior talents which Schultens justly ascribes to him, with zeal and assiduity, in discharging the duties of a senator. To obtain it was his highest ambition, and he would have cheerfully sacrificed to it (to repeat his own words) “ not only an Indian Judgeship of six thousand a year, but a Nabobship with as many millions.”
Notwithstanding the various occupations attending the Oxford election, Mr. Jones found time to publish a small pamphlet, intitled, An Enquiry into the legal Mode of suppressing Riots, with a constitutional Plan of future Defence. This publication was suggested by the unfortunate necessity of calling in military assistance to suppress the riots, which, from the second to the eighth of June of that year, had desolated the capital. He had unhappily been, as he observes, a vigilant and indignant spectator of those abomi. . nable enormities; he had also seen, with a mixed sensation of anguish and joy, the vigorous and triumphant exertions of the
executive power; and though he admitted the necessity of those exertions, he deplored it.
Impressed with the fullest “ conviction, that the common and “ statute laws of the realm then in force, give the civil state in “ every county a power, which, if it were perfectly understood and " continually prepared, would effectually quell any riot or insurrec66 tion, without assistance from the military, and even without the “ modern Riot-Act,” he undertook to demonstrate it; and the labour of less than a month, produced the occasional tract which he published in July.
Of the plan which he then proposed, it is sufficient to say, that during late years the principle of it has been advantageously adopted; and that, while the internal peace of the country has been preserved, its defence against external aggression has been no less consulted by the armed associations which, under different names, have been legally established in every county of Great Britain.
. On the ninth of September of this year, Mr. Jones met the freeholders of Middlesex assembled for the purpose of nominating two representatives in the new parliament. The circumstances of the meeting afforded him no opportunity of addressing them on the general state of the nation ; but be amused himself with drawing up a discourse, containing the purport of what he would have spoken, if an opportunity for this purpose had occurred.
This speech is strikingly characteristic of his principles and feelings; he condemns in unqualified terms the American war, and the conduct of the late parliament, in supporting it. He takes a summary review of the state of the nation, and delivers his opinion
upon upon it without reserve, in that strong language which was so often heard in the parliamentary debates of 1780, and read in the petitions from the associated counties. I shall select from it two passages only, which have no reference to the political discussions of that period ; one, in which Mr. Jones expresses his sentiments on the African slave trade, and the second containing an honourable declaration of that conduct which he would have pursued, if good fortune had placed him in the House of Commons.
"I pass with haste by the coast of Africa, whence my mind “ turns with indignation at the abominable traffic in the human “ species, from which a part of our countrymen dare to derive o their most inauspicious wealth. Sugar, it has been said, would “ be dear if it were not worked by Blacks in the Western “ islands ; as if the most laborious, the most dangerous works, “ were not carried on in every country, but chiefly in England, " by free men; in fact they are so carried on with infinitely “ more advantage, for there is an alacrity in a consciousness of
freedom, and a gloomy sullen indolence in a consciousness of
slavery ; but let sugar be as dear as it may, it is better to 66 eat none, to eat honey, if sweetness only be palatable; better “ to eat aloes or coloquintida than violate a primary law of nature, “ impressed on every heart not imbruted by avarice, than rob one « human creature of those eternal rights, of which no law upon “ earth can justly deprive him.
“ Had it been my good or bad fortune, to have delivered in the “ great assembly of representatives the sentiments which this ““ bosom contains, I am sensible that my public course of speaking “ and voting must have clashed in a variety of instances with my i private obligations; and the conflict of interfering duties consti“ tutes, in my opinion, the nicest part of morality, on which “ however I have completely formed my system, and trust that no “ views of interest will ever prevent my practice from coinciding “ with my theory.”
Professions of this nature are sometimes made and forgotten, when the end, which they were meant to serve, has been attained ; but sincerity was ever a prominent feature in the character of Mr. Jones, and he was more disposed to overstep the bounds of prudence by adhering to it, than to violate what he always deemed a primary law of morality.
In the autumn of this year, I find Mr. Jones at Paris. He had in the preceding summer made a short excursion to that capital ; but the occurrences of these journeys are not of sufficient importance to engage the reader's attention. I recollect to have heard bim mention, in answer to a question which I once put to him, whether he had seen Monsieur du Perron at Paris, that this gentleman studiously avoided meeting him during his residence there.
The following letters written by Mr. Jones after his return to England are interesting, as descriptive of his occupations and sentiments, and as announcing his intention of writing an important historical work, which he never found time to execute.
Mr. JONES to Lord ALTHORPE.
I thought myself peculiarly unfortunate last Friday in my way to London ; at Chatham, where I had the pleasure indeed of seeing Lady Rothes restored to perfect health, I sought in vain for Mr. Langton among the new ravelines and counterscarps ; and at Dartford I had the mortification to find, that you, my dear Lord, were not in camp, where I was not without hope of passing an