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ledge of it.* Aided by the Governor-General, but above all by his own conciliatory manners, and the opinion universally entertained of the purity of his conduct and intentions, the Pundits at last, instead of withholding information from him, became assiduous in assisting him. Hence he finally procured an acquaintance with those writings which had hitherto been so carefully concealed from the public.
* Lord Teignmouth, author of his Memoirs, informs us, that in a note, in Jones's hand-writing, found amongst his papers, twenty-eight languages are mentioned as having been studied by him.
Eight (says he) critically: English, French, Italian, Latin, Greek, Arabic, Persian, Sanscrit.
"Eight studied less perfectly, but all intelligible with a dictionary.
"Twelve least perfectly, but all attainable;" and amongst these we find the Tibetian, Pâli, Phalavi, Deri, Syriac, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Chinese.
Dr. Wilkins himself, so celebrated an orientalist, calls Jones the Oracle of Oriental learning.-See Preface to a Sanscrit Grammar, published by Dr. Wilkins in London, 1808.
The Courts of Law in the British dominions in India, were commanded, by an act of the legislature, to decide controversies between Hindu and Mohammedan parties, according to their respective laws of contracts and of succession. That the courts might be competent to do so, Sir William Jones undertook to form a digest of those laws, from the original Sanscrit and Arabic, which he accordingly accomplished, being assisted therein by a venerable Pundit named Trivédi Servoru Sarman, and a learned Musalman, Maulavi Casim. Two notes written to him by those persons when the work was terminated, the one in Sanscrit, the other in Arabic, are strongly expressive of their profound respect for him.*
In the beginning of 1794, very shortly before his death, he published a translation of the Ordinances of Menu, comprising the Indian system of duties, religious and civil.
* See Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Sir William Jones, vol. ii. p. 307.
Menu is considered by the Hindūs as a sacred lawgiver.
In the eleven discourses which he addressed to the Asiatic Society, on the history, civil and natural, the antiquities, arts, 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.**
Memoirs of his life, vol. ii. p. 266.
OF THE CREATION-THE LAWS, AND INSTITUTES OF MENU.
THE candid translator of the Laws of Menu, observes in his preface to them,* that though many blemishes are to be found in these laws, as containing a system of despotism and priestcraft, both, indeed, limited by law, but artfully conspiring to give mutual support though with mutual checks— "nevertheless, a spirit of sublime devotion, of benevolence to mankind, and of amiable tenderness to all sentient creatures,
* Sir William Jones's Works, vol. vii. p. 88. Mr. Colebrooke has since translated from the Sanscrit a Digest of the Hindu Laws, it was published first at Calcutta, and afterwards at London, in 1802, in three volumes in 8vo.
pervades the whole work; the style of it has a certain austere majesty, that sounds like the language of legislation, and extorts a respectful awe; the sentiments of independence on all beings but God, and the harsh admonitions even to kings, are truly noble, and the many panegyrics on the Gayatri, the Mother, as it is called, of the Veda, prove the author to have adored not the visible material sun, but that divine and incomparably greater light, to use the words of the most venerable text in the Indian scripture, which illumines all, delights all, from which all proceed, to which all must return, and which alone can irradiate our intellects."*
Some persons have suggested the idea that the Hindu and Cretan lawgivers were perhaps the same person, and that Minos is a Greek corruption of Menu; and hence they fix the existence of the latter only about 1500 years before our æra; but, were this hypothesis even admitted, we must allow many ages before that, as necessary to bring an immensely extensive and numerous nation to such a polished and flourishing state,