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My voyage to the eastern coast will, I trust, be very pleasant, and I hope we shall make our part good against the scoundrel Peguers ; though if we descry a fleet of boats, I believe it will be wiser to retreat on the wings of the Phænix; for I am not poet enough to believe, that another will rise from her ashes.
: I lament that our respective engagements have prevented our meeting often, since the end of the rains ; but six or seven hours in the morning, and two or three in the evening, spent in unremitted labour for the last three months, fatigued me so much that I had no leisure for society, scarcely any for natural repose. My last act: was to sign our letter to your board on the subject of our salaries, and I would have called upon you to expostulate amicably on the measure you had pursued, if I had not wished to spare you the pain of defending indefensible steps, and the difficulty of finding reasons to support the most unreasonable conduct. Many passages in the letter were softened by my brethren, for I, who have long been habituated to ancient simplicity, am ever inclined both to write and speak as I think and feel ; and I should certainly have asked, if we had conversed on this matter, whether distressing and pinching the judges, and making them contemptible in the eyes of the natives, and of their own servants, was, as you expressed yourself last summer, assisting them with heart and hand; or whether forming resolutions, as the sub-treasurer wrote me word three weeks ago concerning them, of which they were the last men in the settlement to hear, was intended as a return for that perfect cordiality, as far as honesty permitted, which I had assured you and Mr. Stables, to be one of the golden rules which I had early resolved to pursue in my judicial character.
In a word, the measure is so totally indefensible, that it would have given me as much pain as yourself, to have discussed it. I
have marked the progress of this business from the morning, when I received Mr. M.'s note; and I am well persuaded, that the invasion of our property, was not an idea conceived or approved by you, but forced on you by some financier, who was himself deluded by a conceit of impartiality, not considering that the cases were by no means parallel ; under this persuasion, I beg you to believe, that the measure has not yet made any change in the sincere esteem, with which I am, dear Sir,
Your faithful humble servant,
Şir WILLIAM JONES to THOMAS CALDICOTT, Esq.
Chatigan, Feb. 21, 1786. I have been so loaded with business, that I deferred writing to you, till it was too late to write much, and when the term ended, was obliged, for the sake of my wife's health and my own, to spend a few weeks in this Indian Montpelier, where the hillocks are covered with pepper vines, and sparkle with blossoms of the coffee tree; but the description of the place would fill a volume, and I can only write a short letter to say, si vales, bene est; valeo.
Sir WILLIAM JONES to GEORGE HARDYNGE, Esq.
Feb. 22, 1786. A word to you, no! though you have more of wisdom (et verbum sapienti, &c.) than I have, or wish to have of popularity, yet I would not send you one word, but millions and trillions of words, if I were not obliged to reserve them for conversa. tion. The immeasurable field, that lies before me in the study of Sanscrit and of Hindu jurisprudence (the Arabic laws are familiar
to me) compels me for the present, to suspend my intention of · corresponding regularly with those I love*:Sir WILLIAM JONES to Sir J. MACPHERSON, Bart.
Jafferabad, Feb. 27, 1786. I cannot express, my dear Sir, the pleasure which I have just received from that part of the Board's letter to us, in which they set us right in our misconception of their preceding letter.
I rejoice that we were mistaken, and have just signed our reply; it will, I persuade myself, restore the harmony of our concert, which if worldly affairs have any analogy to music, will rather be improved than spoiled by a short dissonant interval. You, who are a musician, will feel the tone of this metaphor; as to my
* The following sonnet, written some years before the date of Sir William Jones's letter, was addressed by him to his friend :
To G. HARDYNGE, Esq. .
To noble thoughts, and high attempts excite,
Whom thy learn'd sire's well polish'd lays invite,
The glorious meed of many a studious night,
And many a day spent in asserting right,
Allure thy fancy. Think how Tully shone,
What gave them strength ? Not eloquence alone,
harsher * A general in the service of the king of Ava, who appeared on the frontiers of Chatigan, with an army. The Nâf, is the boundary river between Chatigan and Aracan.
harsher notes, quicquid asperius dictum est, indictum esto. In fact (you could not know it, but) I never had been so pinched in my life, for the last three months ; having bought company's bonds, (which nothing but extreme necessity could have made me sell at 30 per cent. discount), I was unable to pay my physician, or my munshis, and was forced to borrow (for the first time in my life) for my daily rice; what was worse, I was forced to borrow of a black man, and it was like touching a snake or the South American eel; in short, if our apprehensions had been well grounded, two of us had resolved to go home next scason. But your letter dispersed all clouds and made my inind as clear as the air of this fine climate, where I expect to escape the heats, and all the ills they produce in a constitution like mine. I confess I wish you had accepted our offer, for half my salary is enough for me, and I would have received the remainder cheerfully on any terms, as I have hitherto done; but as it is, we are all satisfied, and your offers were so equal, that either would have been satisfactory to me.
You must know better than I can, though I am so much nearer the place on the frontiers where Major Ellerker is now encamped. I can hardly persuade myself that Myun Gachim Fera*, with all his bravery in words, will venture to pass the Nâf; the whole story is curious, and as I am on the spot, I wish to write it with all the gravity of an historian, especially as I can pick out some part of the Pegu general's original letter, the characters of which are little more than the nagari letters inverted and rounded.
I now sit opposite to the seas, which wafted us gently hither in the Phænix; and our voyage was well timed, for had we staid two days longer, we should have been in a north-wester. A beautiful vale lies between the hillock on which the house is built and the beach, on all the other sides are hills finely diversified with groves, the walks are scented with blossoms of the champac* and nagasart; and the plantations of pepper and coffee are equally new and pleasing. My wife, who desires her best remembrance, amuses herself with drawing, and I with botany. If (which I trust will not be the case) you should be indisposed, this is the Montpelier which will restore you to bealth.
Sir WILLIAM JONES to Mr. Justice HYDE.
Jaferabad, April 30, 1786. I delayed, my dear Sir, to answer your kind letter of the 10th, until I could give you an accurate account of my motions towards Calcutta. We shall not stay here a whole week longer, but proceed, as soon as we can make preparations for our journey, to the burning well, and thence through Tipera to Dacca : an old engagement will oblige us to deviate a little out of our way to Co. marcaly ; and if the Jellingy be navigable, we shall soon be in
* Lin. Michelia.
f Lin. Mesua. # The burning well is situated about twenty-two miles from Chatigan, at the termina. tion of a valley surrounded by bills. I visited it in 1778; and from recollection am enabled to give the following account of it. The shape of the well, or rather reservoir, is oblong, about six feet by four, and the depth does not exceed twelve feet. The water which is always cold is supplied by a spring, and there is a conduit for carrying off the superfluity; a part of the surface of the well, about a fourth, is covered with brick-work, which is nearly ignited by the flames, which flash without intermission from the surface of the water. It would appear that an inflammable vapour. escapes through the water, which takes fire on contact with the external. air ; the perpetuity of the flame is occasioned by the ignited brick-work, as without this, much of the vapour.would escape without conflagration. This was proved by taking away, the covering af brick-work after the extinction of the heat, by, throwing upon it the water of the well. The flames still continued to burst forth from the surface, but with momentary intermissions, and the vapour was always immediately kindled by holding a candle at. a small distance from the N. N