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had encouraged the publication of many useful oriental works, illustrative of the manners and customs of the Hindûs. Still there was much to be done; and ever anxious to turn his gift of languages to the use of his fellow-men, Sir William Jones determined almost from the moment of his arrival in India to make a complete digest of ancient Hindû and Mahommedan law. To aid his literary researches and concentrate all the information acquired in various parts of our Indian dominions, it occurred to Sir William, that a society, formed on the plan of the Royal Society, at Calcutta, would have a large sphere of usefulness, and bring about beneficial results. He lost no time in unfolding his plan to many of the influential and enterprising men in Calcutta. It was very well received, and, in two months after his arrival in India, he had the satisfaction of attending the first meeting of the new Society. To the GovernorGeneral, as in duty bound, and in acknowledgement of the impetus he had afforded to an extended circulation of Indian literature, the presidency of the Society was offered. He declined, on the plea of having too numerous calls upon his time; and, at his recommendation, Sir William, the founder of the Society, was elected its first president.
The task of recounting the labours of the Society, and their results, devolved upon Jones. He therefore now found it more than ever necessary, with judicial as well as literary work, to return to his old plan of apportioning to every hour of the day its proper task. He knew so well the value of time, and how its fleeting moments' make up a most important whole, if rightly employed. Even in the vacations, the list of work was not a light
Here is a memorandum for daily studies for the long vacation of 1785:
Morning.-One letter; ten chapters in the Bible; Sanscrit; Grammar; Hindû Law, &c.
He allowed nothing to interfere with his study of Sanscrit. Not only was it essential as an aid to the strict administration of justice; but it daily unfolded
boundless store of knowledge and beauty. Even serious illness did not interrupt his application; for, in 1785, in writing from his country retreat at Krishna-nagar, not far from Calcutta, where he had settled after a long journey in search of health, he says:
I am proceeding slowly but surely in the study of Sanscrit; for I can no longer bear to be at the mercy of our pundits, who deal out Hindû law as they please, and make it at reasonable rates, when they cannot find it ready made.'
Krishna-nagar itself was in the immediate vicinity of a Hindû college, and for this reason had been selected by Sir William for his residence in the hot season. He was thus enabled to become acquainted with
many learned natives even among the Brahmins themselves. His habitual courtesy and genial manner dispersed their prejudices and overcame their suspicion ; and the learning he displayed on almost every subject, won their respect and admiration, even when it did not secure affection.
Making all allowances for the exaggeration of Eastern phrascology, the following letter written by an aged pundit to Jones, who had employed the writer to make a compilation of Hindû law, was, according to Lord Teignmouth, Sir William's biographer, no insincere expression of the feeling of the natives :
• Trivédi Servoru Sarman, who depends on you for support, presents his humble duty, with a hundred benedictions.
VERSES. 1. To you there are many like me; yet to me there are none like you, but yourself; there are numerous groves of night-flowers, yet the nightflower sees nothing but the moon, but the moon !
62. A hundred chiefs rule. the world ; but thou art an ocean, and they are mere wells; many luminaries are awake in the sky, but which of them can be compared to the sun ?
63. Many words are needless to inform those who know all things. The law tract of Atri will be delivered by the hand of the footman despatched by your Excellency. Prosperity attend you!'
If the transmission of an ordinary bundle of law papers elicited poetry like this, well may Sir William Jones have exclaimed, in the midst of his sickness, * I would rather be a valetudinarian all my life, than leave unexplored the Sanscrit mine which I have just opened.'
And still, with the study of this beautiful sister of Latin and Greek, Sir William found time for some original composition. During his first journey
up the country, he wrote a tale in verse, called. The Enchanted Fruit, or Hindû Wife,' and a Treatise on the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India.' On his return to Calcutta, he also contributed many valuable original compositions to the ‘Asiatic Miscellany,' a work published at Calcutta, in which were transcribed all the best portions of many Eastern works. And yet he still found idle moments' for the study of Botany and Natural History, whenever a holiday enabled him to get away into the country with Lady Jones.
The vivid and poetical descriptions, in his letters home, of the rare birds and beautiful flowers which constantly came under their notice, and from which his wife's clever pencil made exquisite drawings, are too long for insertion here. But no one can read them without being convinced that Sir William Jones was a religious as well as a learned man, and had a grateful appreciation of the Omnipotent power, whose bounty has enriched the earth with so much beauty. To quote his own words :
As meadows parch'd, brown groves and withering flowers, Imbibe the sparkling dew and genial showers, As chill dark air inhales the morning beam, As thirsty harts enjoy the gelid stream, Thus to man's grateful soul from heaven descend The mercies of his Father, Lord, and Friend. It was not until Sir William had been four years in India, that he felt he had sufficiently mastered Sanscrit to be able to carry out his long-cherished scheme of making a complete Digest of Hindû and Mahommedan Law. Lord Cornwallis had succeeded Warren Hastings as Governor-General; and to him, therefore, Sir William wrote, unfolding his plan and
requesting his sanction and support, to enable him to undertake such a work at the expense of government. His own fortune was sufficiently ample to allow him to devote more than half of it to the public benefit; but on his part, he not only engaged to give up his time to superintending and translating the compilations, but bound himself to remain in India until the work should be finished. It was impossible for the Governor-General not to see the advantage of such an offer, coming from a man of Sir William's known capacity; and it was evident to the most indifferent lawyer, that a complete digest of the laws of the country, would confer a lasting public benefit.
He, therefore, replied most encouragingly to Sir William ; who, with his usual energy, immediately set about the work. Thanks to the thorough manner in which he had studied Sanscrit, he was able, not only to translate the compilations as they were made, but to point out to the natives working under him, from what ancient sources they were to be gathered. It required no ordinary quickness of observation, as well as depth of learning, to perceive at once any attempt at imposition. When we meet,' he writes, • I will give you an account of my progress in detecting a most impudent fraud in forging a Sanscrit book on oaths, by Hindûs, since I saw you. The book has been brought to me on a few yellow Bengal leaves, apparently modern. The Brahmin, who brought it from Sambhu Chandra Rai, said it was twelve years old. I believe it had not been written twelve days.'
To such advantage did the linguist turn the twentyeight languages, of which, at this time, he felt he