Jones, Sir William

Jones, Sir William an eminent poet, scholar, and lawyer, was born in London Sept. 28, 1746, and was sent to Harrow in 1753, where he soon eclipsed all his fellows, particularly in classical knowledge. In 1764 he was entered at University College, Oxford, where he was enabled to gratify that desire for a knowledge of the Oriental languages which had shown itself during the last two years of his residence at Harrow. In 1765 he left Oxford, to become tutor to the eldest son of earl Spencer, with whom he traveled on the Continent. In 1770 he was admitted to the Inner Temple, and the same year he published, at the request of the king of Denmark, a Life of Nadir Shah, translated into French from the Persian; in the following year a Persian Grammar, republished some years ago, with corrections and additions, by the late professor Lee; and in 1774 his Commentaries of Asiatic Poetry, republished by Eichhorn at Leipsic in 1776. In 1776 he was made a commissioner of bankrupts. In 1780 he completed a translation of seven Arabic poems, known as the Moallakat; wrote an essay On the Legal Mode of Suppressing Riots, and another, entitled Essay on the Law of Bailments, and two or three odes. In March, 1783, Jones obtained a judgeship in the Supreme Court of Judicature in Bengal, and landed at Calcutta in September. He at once set about the acquisition and promulgation of the knowledge of Oriental languages, literature, and customs. He established the Royal Asiatic Society "for investigating the history, antiquities, arts, sciences, and literature of Asia," of which he was the first president. To the volumes of the Asiatic Researches Sir William contributed largely. Besides these, he wrote and published a story in verse, called The Enchanted Fruit, or the Hindu Wife; and a translation of an ancient Indian drama, called Sacontala, or the Fatal Ring. A translation by him of the Ordinances of Menu (q.v.) appeared in 1794. He was busily employed on a digest of the Hindu and Mohammedan laws, when he was attacked with an inflammation of the liver, which terminated fatally April 27, 1794. Sir Wm. Jones was one of the first linguists and Oriental scholars that Great Britain has produced, being more or less acquainted with no less than twenty-eight different languages. His poems are always elegant, often animated, and their versification is mellifluous. His learning was extensive, his legal knowledge was profound, and he was an enlightened and zealous champion of constitutional principles. He was also an earnest Christian. To devotional exercises he was habitually attentive. In addition to the above works, Sir William Jones published a translation of Isaeus; and also translations of two Mohammedan law tracts On the Law of Inheritance, and of Succession to Property of lntestates: — Tales and Fables. by Nizami: — Two Hymns to Pracriti; and Extracts from the Vedas. The East India Company erected a monument to his memory in St. Paul's Cathedral, and a statue in Bengal. A complete edition of his works, in 6 vols. 4to, was published by lady Jones in 1799; and another appeared, in 13 vols. 8vo, in 1807, with a life of the author by lord Teignmouth.

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