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Much to their honour, the Indian Government of the day, formed of Lord Cornwallis and his Council, accepted his offer to preside over the undertaking, and his staff of native experts, considerably increased, was taken into the Government service.On his monument by Flaxman, in the chapel of University College at Oxford, he sits surrounded by his company of native literates, amid conventional Indian foliage, bareheaded, in the open air.
In a few words at the commencement of his Seventh Chapter, the writer has explained his reasons for prefixing to his later chapters a discussion of some ‘Theories of Primitive Society.’ The substance of Chapters V., VI., IX., and XI.
Sir William Jones compares him to the Cretan Minos and the Egyptian Men, partly on account of the consonance of names.
As I have just stated, he sees an analogy in this law-book to the Institutes of the Roman Justinian, but he assigns to it the prodigious date of 1,280 years before Christ.
It was in fact from these native Hindu teachers that Sir William Jones learned, and the learned and curious all over the West were gradually informed, that in a part of the world just coming under the British sceptre there existed an ancient language, the elder sister of the classical languages so honoured in the West, a series of poems which might not unjustly be compared to the Homeric epics and the Attic drama, and laws twice as old as the legislation of Solon and the Twelve Tables of Rome.
It is impossible now—now that India has become more commonplace as she has got nearer; now that, here at all events, she is associated with frontier wars, budgets, opium, and grey shirtings—to reproduce the keen throb of intellectual interest which the literary portion of these discoveries sent through Europe.