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In the 325th page of the Memoirs, the reader will find mention of an unsuccessful attempt of the Hindûs, to impose upon Sir William Joncs, a forged Sanscrit book on oaths.
The same sagacity which detected the fraud in this instance, might have discovered the forgery of the pundit employed by Mr. Wilford, if the original document had been submitted to the inspection of Sir William Jones. In this country the fabrications of a Chatterton, escaped for a season, the penetration of the learned and acute.
In the Postscript to the Memoirs, I have omitted to mention in its proper place, that a monument was erected at Oxford to the memory of Sir William Jones, by a subscription of the gentlemen residing in Bengal, who had received their education at the university there and at Cambridge. The inscription on the elegant monument executed by Flasman, at the expense of Lady Jones, and placed in the anti-chamber to the Chapel of University College, Oxford, is annexed to the Preface.
“ of the Puranas. These two sections, as he wrote them, consist of no less than 12,000 “ slocas or lines, the title of which he borrowed.”
The above is an extract from Mr. Wilford's Essay, and affords a remarkable though not a singular instance of industry and ingenuity in literary forgeries. I shall only add, from the same Essay, the following lines immediately applicable to the passage which has occasioned my remarks.
“ A few instances of the impositions of my pandit, will exemplify his mode of pro“ ceeding. The first is a legend of the greatest importance, and is said to be extracted “ from the Padma. It contains the history of Noah and his three sons, and is written “ in a masterly style. But unfortunately there is not a word of it to be found in that « Purana. It is however mentioned, though in less explicit terms, in many Puranas, " and the pandit took particular care in pointing out to me several passages, which more * or less confirmed this interesting legend." 1
It has frequently been remarked, that the characters of very eminent men cannot be closely examined without a considerable diminution of the respect, which their general fame has excited.
From whatever source this remark may have proceeded, or to whatever degree of truth it may be entitled, I cannot but express a solicitude, that it may derive no confirmation from the work now presented to the public. Impressed with admiration, respect, and esteem for the memory of Sir William Jones, whether I contemplate his genius, his learning, or his virtues, I wish to transfer my own feelings to the minds of my readers ; but whilst I distrust my own efforts, I amequally anxious to guard against extravagant expectations in them, and any want of discernment in myself.
GVLIELMI. JONES. EQVITIS. AVRATI, QVI. CLARVM. IN. LITERIS. NOMEN. A . PATRE. ACCEPTVM,
MAGNA. CVMVLAVIT. GLORIA. INGENIVM. IN. ILLO. ERAT.SCIENTIARVM.OMNIVM. CAPAX, DISCIPLINISQVE. OPTIMIS. DILIGENTISSIMÈ. EXCVLTVM.
ERAT. INDOLES. AD. VIRTVTEM. EXIMIA, ET. IN. IVSTITIA . LIBERTATE. RELIGIONE. VINDICANDA,
ID. OMNE. SCRIPTIS . SVIS. IMMORTALIBVS,
CVM.A. PROVINCIA . BENGALA,
PER. DECENNIVM. OBIERAT,
INGRVENTIS. MORBI . VIS. OPPRESSIT,
VT. QVIBVS. IN. ÆDIBVS
IPSE. OLIM. SOCIVS. INCLARVISSET, IN. IISDEM. MEMORIA. EIVS. POTISSIMVM. CONSERVARETVR,
HONORARIVM. HOC. MONVMENTVM, ANNA. MARIA. FILIA . JONATHAN. SHIPLEY. EPIS. . ASAPH.
CONIVGI. SVO . B. . M.
CORRESPONDENCE IN THE MEMOIRS.
MORRIS, Lewis, Esq. to W. Jones, Esq. Father of Sir William Jones
- page 2.
LETTERS PROM SIR WILLIAM JONES
Sir Joseph, Bart. 302. 328. 345, 350.
270. 299. 319.
D. B. -
119. 122. 140. 150. 202.
S25. 332. 354.
Sir J. Bart.