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liberty of pillaging the captured town. With no very rapacious views, he selected a bookseller's shop for his share; but finding no book worth taking away, he carried off a pair of scissars, which he used to shew his friends, as a trophy of his military success. On his return to England, he established himself as a teacher of mathematics, and published several scientific works, which were remarkable for their neatness of illustration, and brevity of style. By his labours as a teacher he acquired a small fortune; but lost it through the failure of a banker. His friend, Lord Macclesfield, however, in some degree indemnified him for the loss, by procuring for him a sinecure place under government. Sir William Jones lost this valuable parent when he was only three years old; so that the care of his first education devolved upon his mother. She, also, was a person of superior endowments; and cultivated his dawning powers with a sagacious assiduity, which undoubtedly contributed to their quick and surprising growth. We may judge of what a pupil she had, when we are told, that at five years of age, one morning, in turning over the leaves of a Bible, he fixed his attention, with the strongest admiration, on a sublime passage in the Revelations. Human nature perhaps presents no authentic picture of its felicity more pure or satisfactory, than that of such a pupil superintended by a mother capable of directing him.
At the age of seven, he went to Harrow school, where his progress was at first interrupted by an
accident which he met with, in having his thighbone broken, and he was obliged to be taken home for about a twelvemonth. But after his return, his abilities were so distinguished, that before he left Harrow, he was shewn to strangers as an ornament to the seminary. Before he had reached this eminence at school, it is a fact, disgraceful to one of his teachers, that, in consequence of the ground which he had lost by the accident already mentioned, he was frequently subjected to punishment, for exertions which he could not make; or, to use his own expression, for not being able to soar before he had been taught to fly. The system of severity must have been merciless indeed, when it applied to Jones, of whom his master, Dr. Thackery, used to say, that he was a boy of so active a spirit, that if left friendless and naked on Salisbury Plain, he would make his way to fame and fortune. It is related of him, that while at Harrow, his fellow scholars having determined to act the play of the Tempest, they were at a loss for a copy, and that young Jones wrote out the whole from memory. Such miracles of human recollection are certainly on record; but it is not easy to conceive the boys at Harrow, when permitted by their masters to act a play, to have been at a loss for a copy of Shakespeare; and some mistake or exaggeration may be suspected in the anecdote. He possibly abridged the play for the particular occasion. Before leaving Harrow school, he learned the Arabic characters, and studied the Hebrew language, so as to enable him to read some of the original psalms. What would have been labour to others, was Jones's amusement. He used to relax his mind with Philidor's Lessons at Chess, and with studying botany and fossils.
In his eighteenth year he was entered of University college, Oxford, where his residence was rendered more agreeable by his mother taking up her abode in the town. He was also, fortunately, permitted by his teachers to forsake the study of dialectic logic, which still haunted the college, for that of Oriental literature; and he was so zealous in this pursuit, that he brought from London to Oxford a native of Aleppo, whom he maintained at his own expense, for the benefit of his instructions in Arabic. He also began the study of modern Persic, and found his exertions rewarded with rapid success. His vacations were spent in London, where he attended schools for riding and fencing, and studied Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. He pursued in theory, and even exceeded in practice, the plan of education projected by Milton; and boasted, that with the fortune of a peasant, he could give himself the education of a prince. He obtained a fellowship at Oxford; but before he obtained it, whilst he was yet fearful of his success, and of burthening the slender finances of an affectionate mother for his support, he accepted of the situation of tutor to Lord Althorpe, the son of Earl Spencer. In the
summer of 1765, he repaired to Wimbledon Park, to take upon himself the charge of his young pupil. He had not been long in Lord Spencer's family, when he was flattered by an offer from the Duke of Grafton, of the place of interpreter of eastern languages. This situation, though it might not have interfered with his other pursuits, he thought fit to decline; but earnestly requested that it might be given to his Syrian teacher, Mirza, whose character he wrote. The solicitation was, however, unnoticed; and the event only gave him an opportunity of regretting his own ignorance of the world, in not accepting the proffered office, that he might consign its emoluments to Mirza. At Wimbledon he first formed his acquaintance with the daughter of Dr. Shipley, the Dean of Winchester, to which he owed the future happiness of his life. The ensuing winter, 1766, he removed with Lord Spencer's family to London, where he renewed his pursuit of external as well as intellectual accomplishments, and receiv. d lessons from Gallini as well as Angelo. It is amusing to find his biographer add, that he took lessons at the broad sword from an old Chelsea pensioner, seamed with scars, to whose military narrations he used to listen with delight.
In 1767 he made a short trip with the family of his pupil to the continent, where, at Spa, he pursued the study of German ; and availed himself of the opportunity of finding an incomparable teacher of dancing, whose name was Janson. In the following
year he was requested by the secretary of the Duke of Grafton to undertake a task, in which no other scholar in England was found willing to engage, namely, in furnishing a version of an eastern MS. a life of Nadir Shaw, which the King of Denmark had brought with him to England, and which his Danish majesty was anxious to have translated into French. Mr. Jones undertook the translation from a laudable reluctance to allow the MS. to be carried out of the country for want of a translator ; although the subject was dry, the style of the original difficult, and although it obliged him to submit his translation to a native of France, in order to give it the idioms of a French style. He was at this time only twenty-one years of age. The only reward which he obtained for his labour was a diploma from the Royal Society of Copenhagen, and a recommendation from the court of Denmark to his own sovereign. To the “ History of Nadir Shaw” he added a treatise of his own, on Oriental poetry, in the language of the translation. In the same year he began the study of music, and took some lessons on the Welch harp.
In 1770 he again visited the continent with the Spencer family, and travelled into Italy. The genius which interests us at home redoubles its interest on foreign ground; but it would appear, from Jones's letters, that, in this instance, he was too assiduous a scholar to be an amusing traveller. His mind, during this visit to the continent, was less intent on