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work in which he had been long engaged, A Trans bation of the Ordinances of Menu, comprising the Free dian system of Duties religious and civit.
Oct. 1793. “I will follow Lady Jones as soon as I can; possibly at the beginning of 1795, but probably not till the season after that; for although I shall have more than enough to supply all the wants of a man, who would rather have been Cincinnatus with his plough, than Lucullus with all his wealth, yet I wish to complete the system of Indian laws while I remain in India, because I wish to perform whatever I promise with the least possible imperfection; and in so difficult a work doubts might arise, which the Pundits alone could remove."
As to Sir William Jones's religious opinions, the following testimony, copied from his own manuscript in his Bible, though frequently published, cannot be too often repeated :
“ I have carefully and regularly perused these Holy Scriptures, and am of opinion, that the volume, independently of its divine origin, contains more sublimity, purer morality, more important history, and finer strains of eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever language they may have been written.”
At length we arrive at the close of this most extraordinary man's life; and I shall give it in the words of his poble biographer.
" The few months allotted to his existence, after the departure of Lady Jones, were devoted to his usual occupations, and more particularly to the discharge of țbat duty which alone detained him in India, the com
pletion of the Digest of Hindu and Mahommedan Law. But neither the'consciousness of acquitting hiniself of an obligation, which he had voluntarily contracted, nor his incessant assiduity, could fill the vacuity occasioned by the absence of her, whose society had sweetened the toil of application, and cheared his hours of relaxation. Their habits were congenial, and their pursuits in some respects similar: his botanical researches were facilitated by the eyes of Lady Joncs, and by her talents in drawing; and their evenings were generally passed together, in the perusal of the hest modern authors, in the different languages of Europe. After her departure he mixed more in pramiscuous society; but his affections were transported with her to his native country.
“On the evening of the 20th of April, or nearly about that date, after prolonging his walk to a late hour, during which he had imprudently remained in conversation, in an unwholesome situation, he called upon the writer of these sheets, and complained of aguish symptoms, mentioning his intention to take some medicine, and repeating jocularly an old proverb, that “ An ague in the Spring is a medicine for a king.” He had no suspicion at the time, of the real nature ot his indisposition, which proved, in fact, to be a com: plaint common in Bengal, an inflammation in the liver. The disorder was, however, soon discovered by the penetration of the physician, who after two or three days was called in to his assistance; but it had then advanced too far to yield to the efficacy of the medicines usually prescribed, and they were adminis. tered in vain. The progress of the complaint was un
commonly rapid, and terminated fatally on the 27th of April, 1794. On the morning of that day his attend. ants, alarmed at the evident symptoms of approaching dissolution, came precipitately to call the friend who has now the melancholy task of recording the mournful event. Not a moment was lost in repairing to his house. He was lying on his bed in a posture of meditation, and the only symptom of remaining life was a small degree of motion in the heart, which after a few seconds ceased, and he expired without à pang of groan. His bodily suffering, from the complacency of his features, and the ease of his attitude, could not have been severe; and his mind must have derived consolation from those sources where he had been in the habit of seeking it, and where alone, in our last moments, it can ever be found."
It often happens that, in the delineation of the cha, racters of men of genius, the difficulty is increased by the paucity of materials; in the present case it is aug, mented by their multiplicity. The almost incredible extent of Sir William Jones's acquirements requires a stretch of thought to comprehend, much more to describe them. By a paper of his own writing, it appears that he understood something of eight-and-twenty languages; “eight, critically; eight less perfectly, but intelligible with a dictionary; twelve, least perfectly. but all attainable."
Lord Teignmouth observes, that “in the eleven discourses, which he addressed to the Asiatic society, on the history, civil and natural, the antiquities, aris, sciences, philosophy, and literature of Asia, and on the origin and families of nations, he has discussed the
subjects, which he professed to explain, with a perspicuity which delights and instructs, and in a style which never ceases to please, where his arguments may not always convince. In these disquisitions he has more particularly displayed his profound oriental learning in illustrating topics of great importance in the history of mankind; and it is much to be lamented that he did not live to revise and improve them in England, with the advantages of accumulated knowledge and undisturbed leisure."
“There were few sciences, in which he had not acquired considerable proficiency; in most his knowledge was profound.”" His last and favourite pursuit was the study of botany."
“ It cannot be deemed useless or superfluous to inquire by what arts or method he was enabled to ata tain this extraordinary degree of knowledge. The faculties of his mind, by nature vigorous, were improved by constant exercise: and bis memory, by habitual practice, had acquired a capacity of retaining whatever had once been impressed upon it. in his early years, he seems to have entered upon his career of study with this maxim strongly impressed upon his mind, that whatever had been attained, was attainable by him; and it has been remarked, that ie never neglected, nor overlooked, any opportunity of improving his intel. lectual faculties, or of acquiring esice med accomplishments.
“ To an unextinguished ardour for universal knowledge he joined a persei erance in the pursuit of it, which subdued all obstacles. His studies in India began with the dawn, and during the interinissions of professional duties, were continued throughout the day:
reflection and meditation strengthened and confirmed ; what industry and investigation had accumulated. It was also a fixed principle with him, from which he. never voluntarily deviated, not to be deterred by any difficulties that were surmountable, from prosecuting to a successful termination, what he had once deliberately undertaken"
Sir William entertained a strange opinion, (which was certainly a proof of his humility) that all men are : born with eqnal mental capacities. Having supported this opinion in a conversation with Thomas Law, Esq. that gentleman sent him the following lines :
“Sir William, you attempt in vain,
To ulich Sir William Jones wrote the following answer:
“Ah! but too well, dear friend, I know