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thus acquired a passion for books, which only grew in strength with increasing years. At the close of his seventh year, he was placed at the school at Harrow, and in 1764 he entered University College, Oxford. Unlike the majority of youths at these educational establishments, young Jones devoted his whole mind to his studies, his voluntary exertions always exceeding in amount his prescribed task. Such was his activity at school, that one of his masters was wont to say of him, 'that if he were left naked and friendless on Salisbury Plain, he would nevertheless find the road to fame and riches. At this time he was frequently in the habit of devoting whole nights to study, when he would generally take coffee or tea to ward off sleep --a practice, however, which was anything but commendable. He had already, merely to divert his leisure hours, commenced the study of the law; and it is mentioned that he would often amuse and surprise his mother's legal acquaintance by putting cases to them from an abridgment of Coke's Institutes, which he had read and mastered.
The leaning of Jones's genius seems to have been towards the study of languages. It may be very frequently remarked, that individuals who possess the knack of acquiring languages seldom have a genius for anything else; but such does not appear to have been the case with respect to Jones, whose intellect grasped at several of the most important departments of human knowledge and polite learning. While at Oxford, he became desirous of studying the Oriental languages, and he supported a native of Aleppo, at his own expense, to instruct him in the pronunciation of the Arabic tongue. The Greek and Latin languages he was already master of. During the college vacations, he embraced the opportunity of learning riding and fencing, and to read all the best authors in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. To these accomplishments he found leisure to add dancing, the use of the broadsword, music, and the art of playing on the Welsh harp, the instrument of the country of his forefathers.
While engaged in these various studies, he did not allow himself to rest in the pursuit of the object he had in view—namely, a fellowship, in order to spare his mother the expense of his education. Not succeeding to his wish in obtaining this object of his ambition, he accepted, in 1765, the office of tutor to Lord Althorp, afterwards Earl Spencer; and, some time afterwards, he obtained a fellowship also. He availed himself of a residence at the German Spa, with his pupil, in 1767, to acquire the German language, and on his return translated into French a Persian Life of Nadir Shah, brought over in manuscript by the king of Denmark, at the request of the undersecretary of the Duke of Grafton. Another tour to the continent with his pupil and family followed, which occupied his time until 1770, when his tutorship ceasing, he entered himself as a law student in the Temple. He did not, however, wholly sacrifice literature to his professional pursuits; but on the appearance of the Life and Works of Zoroaster, by Anquetil du Perron, he vindicated the university of Oxford, which had been attacked by that writer, in an able pamphlet in the French language, which he wrote with great elegance. He also published, in 1772, a small collection of poems, chiefly from the poets of Asia, and was the same year elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1774 appeared his work De Poesi Asiatica, containing commentaries on Asiatic poetry in general, with metrical specimens in Latin and English. He was soon after called to the bar, and, in 1776, made a commissioner of bankrupts. About this time his correspondence with his pupil evinced the manly spirit of constitutional freedom by which he was actuated; and to his feelings on the American contest he gave vent in a spirited Latin Ode to Liberty. In 1778 appeared his translation of the Orations of Isæus, with a prefatory discourse, notes, and commentary, which, for elegance of style and profound critical and historical research, excited much admiration.
In the meantime he rapidly advanced in professional reputation, although his opinion of the American contest stood in the way of his progress to legal honours. The tumults of 1780 induced him to write a pamphlet on the Legal Mode of Suppressing Riots; and in the following winter he completed a translation from the Arabic of seven poems of the highest repute. He also wrote the much-admired ode, commencing What constitutes a State ? These pursuits did not prevent a professional Essay on the Law of Bailments. He distinguished himself, in 1782, among the friends to a reform in parliament, and also became a member of the Society for Constitutional Information. The same year he drew
up a Dialogue between a Farmer and a Country Gentleman on the Principles of Government; for the publication of which the Dean of St Asaph, afterwards his brotherin-law, had a bill of indictment preferred against him for sedition. Upon this event he sent a letter to Lord Kenyon, then chief-justice of Chester, owning himself the author, and defending his positions. On the accession of the Shelburne administration, through the influence of Lord Ashburton, he obtained, what had long been the object of his ambition, the appointment of judge in the Supreme Court of Judicature, Bengal, to which he was nominated in March 1783, and knighted.
Jones (now Sir William) arrived at Calcutta in September 1783. Here a new and extensive field of action opened to him. While filling the office of judge in the Supreme Court of Bengal, and loaded with professional duties of the most laborious nature, he contrived to do more than ever in the study of general literature and philosophy. He had scarcely arrived in the country when he exerted himself to establish a society in Calcutta on the model of the Royal Society of London, of which he officiated as president as long as he lived, enriching its Transactions every year with the most elaborate and valuable disquisitions in every department of Oriental philology and antiquities.
Almost his only time for study now was during the vacation of the courts; and here is the account, as found among his papers, of how he was accustomed to spend his day during the long-vacation in 1785. In the morning, after writing one letter, he read several chapters of the Bible, and then studied Sanscrit grammar and Hindu law; the afternoon was given to the geography of India, and the evening to Roman history; when the day was closed by a few games at chess, and the reading of a portion of Ariosto.
Already, however, his health was beginning to break down under the climate, and his eyes had become so weak, that he had been obliged to discontinue writing by candle-light. But nothing could prevent him from pursuing the studies he loved, while any strength remained to him. Even while confined by illness to his couch, he taught himself botany; and it was during a tour he was advised to take for the recovery of his health, that he wrote his learned Treatise on the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India, as if he had actually so disciplined his mind that it adopted labour like this almost for a relaxation.
His health, after a time, was partially restored; and we find him again devoting himself both to his professional duties and his private studies with more zeal and assiduity than ever. When business required his attendance daily in Calcutta, he resided at a countryhouse on the banks of the Ganges, about five miles from the city. 'To this spot,' says his amiable and intelligent biographer, Lord Teignmouth, he returned every evening after sunset, and in the morning rose so early, as to reach his apartments in town, by walking, at the first appearance of dawn. The intervening period of each morning, until the opening of court, was regularly allotted and applied to distinct studies. At this time his hour of rising used to be between three and four.
During the vacation of the court he was equally occupied. Writing from Crishna, his vacation residence, in 1787, he says: “We are in love with this pastoral cottage; but though these three months are called a vacation, yet I have no vacant hours. It rarely happens that favourite studies are closely connected with the strict discharge of our duty, as mine happily are: even in this cottage I am assisting the court by studying Arabic and Sanscrit, and have now rendered it an impossibility for the Mohammedan or Hindu lawyers to impose upon us with erroneous opinions. It was these constant exertions, in truth, that gave its chief enjoyment to his life. In connection with this pursuit, he employed his active mind in planning the compilation of a complete digest of the Hindu and Mohammedan laws, with a view to the better administration of justice among the natives. This work he did not live to finish, but its subsequent accomplishment was entirely owing to his recommendation and primary labours. His object in this instance was to secure a due attention to the rights of the natives; and he shewed himself equally jealous of those of the British inhabitants, by opposing an attempt to supersede the trial by jury.
In 1789 he gave to the world the translation of an Indian drama entitled Sacontala, or the Fatal Ring. His translation of the Ordinances of Menu, the famous Hindu lawgiver, appeared early in 1794, and is very interesting to the student of ancient manners and opinions. This eminent and admirable man, however, at last fell a sacrifice to an undue zeal in the discharge of his duty and his pursuits in literature. In April 1794 he was seized at Calcutta with an inflammation of the liver, which terminated his life on the 27th of the same month, in the forty-eighth year of his age.
It was by a persevering observance of a few simple maxims that Sir William Jones was principally enabled to accomplish what he did. One of these was, never to neglect an opportunity of improvement; another was, that whatever had been attained by others, was attainable by him, and that therefore the real or supposed difficulties of any pursuit formed no reason why he should not engage in it, and with perfect confidence of success. It was also,' says his biographer, Lord Teignmouth, a fixed principle with him, from which he never voluntarily deviated, not to be deterred by any difficulties which were surmountable, from prosecuting to a successful termination what he had once deliberately undertaken. But what appears to me,' adds his lordship, ‘more particularly to have enabled him to employ his talents so much to his own and the public advantage, was the regular allotment of his time to particular occupations, and a scrupulous adherence to the distribution which he had fixed;; hence all his studies were pursued without interruption or confusion.'
Few men have died more regretted, or whose loss to the world of letters was more deeply felt, than Sir William Jones, who, as a linguist, has scarcely ever been surpassed. His acquaintance with the history, philosophy, laws, religion, science, and manners of nations was most extensive and profound. As a poet, too, he would probably have risen to great eminence, if his ardour to transplant foreign beauties, and his professional and multifarious pursuits, had allowed him to cultivate his own invention with sufficient intensity. His private character was estimable in all the domestic relations, and he was equally liberal and spirited in public life.
The memory of Sir William Jones received many testimonies of respect both in England and India. The directors of the East India Company voted him a monument in St Paul's Cathedral, and a statue in Bengal ; but the most effectual monument of his fame was raised by his widow, who published a splendid edition of his works, in six volumes quarto, 1799, and also, at her own expense, placed a fine marble statue of him, executed by Flaxman, in the antechamber of University College, Oxford.
The life of one who perished in the attempt to emulate this distinguished Oriental scholar, forms the succeeding biographic sketch.
DR JOHN LEYDEN. THE subject of this brief memoir will be long distinguished among those whom the elasticity and ardour of genius have raised to distinction from an obscure and humble origin. John Leyden was the son of a person whose vocation was little above that of a daylabourer, and who had been some time settled upon the estate of Cavers, in the vale of Teviot, Roxburghshire, in the south of Scotland. He was born at the village of Denholm, on the 8th of September 1775, and bred, like other children in the same humble line of life, to such country labour as suited his strength.
About a year after his birth, the parents of Leyden removed to Henlawshiel, a lonely cottage about three miles from Denholm, on the farm of Nether Tofts, which was then held by Mr Andrew Blithe, his mother's uncle. Here they lived for sixteen years, during which his father was employed, first as shepherd, and afterwards in managing the whole business of the farm, his relation having had the misfortune to lose his sight. The cottage, which was of very simple construction, was situated in a wild pastoral spot near the foot of Ruberslaw, on the verge of the heath which stretches down from the sides of that majestic hill. The simplicity of the interior corresponded with that of its outward appearance. But the kind affections, cheerful content, intelligence, and piety that dwelt beneath its lowly roof, made it such a scene as poets have imagined in their descriptions of the innocence and happiness of rural life. Leyden was taught to read by his grandmother, who, after her husband's death, resided in the family of her son. Under the care of this venerable and affectionate instructress, his progress was rapid. That insatiable desire of knowledge which afterwards formed so remarkable a feature in his character, soon began to shew itself. The historical passages of the Bible first caught his attention ; and it was not long before he made himself familiarly acquainted with every event recorded in the Old and New Testament.
Thus Leyden was ten years of age before he had an opportunity of attending a public place of education; and as the death of his first teacher, William Wilson, schoolmaster at Kirktown, soon after took place, the humble studies of the future poet, antiquary, and Orientalist were adjourned till the subsequent year (1786), when a Mr W. Scott taught the same school. But the sacred fire had already caught to the ready fuel which nature had adjusted for its