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" and the evil is such, that, if I had known it, no prospect ' could have tempted me to encounter it." He often sighed for the “ King of Clubs,” that choice company of beaux esprits, of which he was the founder, and which held its monthly meetings at the “ Crown and Anchor " in the Strand. “ I defy your ingenuity and vivacity to extract an ‘ing letter out of this place. There is a languor and le
thargy among the society bere, to which I never elsewhere saw any approach. Think of my situation--become as I
once ventured to tell you) too fastidious in society, even in ' London; and, for the same reason (shall I confess it?) not so . patient of long continued solitude, as I hoped that I should
be. You see the mischief of being spoiled by your society. The 'King of Clubs' ought only to transport its members in very atrocious cases. The Governor, as I told you in my overland despatch, is indeed an ingenious and intelligent
gentleman;* but every Englishman, who resides here very long, 'has, I fear, his mind either emasculated by submission, or cor' rupted by despotic power. There are many things, which might ' look amusing enough to you in a letter, of which the effect is, in • truth, soon worn out. I am carried in my palankeen by bear' ers from Hydrabad. I have seen monkies and their tricks
exhibited by a man from Oujein. I condemned a native of Ah• medabad to the pillory. I have given judgment on a bill, for
brandy supplied by a man who kept a dram-shop at Púnah. * I have decided the controversies of parties, who live in Cutch, ' and granted commissions to examine witnesses at Cambay. I
have, in the same morning, received a visit from a Roman Ca'tholic Bishop, of the name of Ramazzini, from Modena, a 'descendant of the celebrated physician, Ramazzini, a rela
tion of Muratori, who wondered that an Englisbman should ' be learned enough to quote Virgil ; of an Armenian Archbishop
from Mount Ararat ; of a shroff (money-dealer) from Benares,
who came hither by the way of Jyenagur, and who can draw ' bills on his correspondents at Cabul; and of the Dustúr, or
Chief Priest, of the Parsis at Surat, who is copying out for
me the genuine works of Zoroaster. All this jumble of na'tions and usages and opinions looks, at a distance, as if it ' would be very amusing, and for a moment it does entertain;
but it is not all worth one afternoon of free and rational con
• Jonathan Duncan was something more than this. He did not consider himself a mere bird of passage, and labour only for money, and long for “emancipation” from his work. He was a conscientious and philanthropic public servant, devoting his time and his talents to the welfare of Hindustan. His noble exertions to put down infanticide (had he done nothing else) give him a juster title to the respect of rightthinking men, ihan all the conversational triumpbs of the “ King of Clubs.”—ED.
' versation at the “King of Clubs.” If ever I rise again from 'the dead, I shall be very glad to travel for the sake of seeing
clever men, or beautiful countries; but I shall make no tours to see fantastic or singular manners, and uncouth usages. It is all a cheat; at least it is too trifling and short-lived to de
serve the pains that must be taken for it. I should rather • travel to the Temple, and then try to keep Porson quiet for a ' week, and make a voyage down the Thames, to force my way into
Jeremy Bentham's in Queen-square place. These are monsters enough for me ; and, fierce as one of them is, they suit me much better than Mullahs or Pundits.”
The picturesque scenery of the island of Bombay did not escape the eye of Mackintosh ; but it lost much of its beauty by being the scene of his banishment. Another cause was the difficulty of enjoying it—the heat during the greater part of the day confining him to the house, and the morning, or evening, ride being necessarily of too short duration to permit of his going any distance from home. He was in the habit, however, of riding at day-break, and being in the saddle before six. On his return, about eight o'clock, breakfast was waiting him;
when, to shew the enervating effects of the climate, I eat only two eggs and a large plate of fish and rice, called kedgeree;
mention two cups of coffee, and three of tea.” When not engaged in his duties at the court, he devoted the forenoon to study. The baneful system of " tiffins in mid-day-of over
loading the stomach with various meats, and clouding the brain ' with draughts of thick ale, when the heat is at its greatest, and • when the slightest exertion of the frame excites profuse
perspiration was not then in fashion; all classes followed the London habit, which was to take the principal meal at four in the afternoon, leaving the evening-the luxury of a tropical climate—to the enjoyment of a walk, or a ride. The hour or two preparatory to retiring to rest, Sir James em: ployed in his favourite diversion-that of reading aloud to his family. His favourite author was Addison; but all the new books, as he received them from England, after having undergone his previous revisal, were made to contribute to the evening entertainment. His wife, a lady of intellectual acquirements, but without any tincture of the bas-bleu, used to divide with him this delightful task. To her it fell, by her readings, to bring up their little audience to a just appreciation of the genius of Shakespeare. Without doubt a good recital of the plays is worth all the commentaries that were ever written. Shakespeare is easier than his commentators. Lady Mackintosh's readings, we are told, were marked by a delicate perception of the
lights and shades of the several characters introduced by our great poet : she individualized each one of them. Her acquirements as a writer, if we may take the judgment of her husband-naturally perhaps a partial one-were no less distinguished. “ Our readings in Milton produced
one good effect-a criticism on the Allegro and Penseroso
in Lady M.'s journal, less idolatrous than Tom Warton's ; * less spiteful than Johnson's; better thought, better felt, and
better worded than either.” We can never pass the gates of Parell, and glance up the noble vista of trees leading to the house, without being reminded of these scenes, and without a spirit of veneration stealing over us for the great name, whose presence once graced the spot. First, a pursery for Jesuitism-at present, a seat for the representative of royalty-Parell house derives its chief celebrity from having been the residence of Mackintosh.
Though possessed of considerable facility in the acquirement of languages, being a thorough French and Italian scholar, and so well versed in German, as to be able to peruse with ease the speculative writings of Kant, Fichte, and Schelling, Mackintosh made no attempt to master any of the Eastern tongues. In this respect he was right. At the time of life he had reached, when be accepted the Recordership of Bombay, he was aware that many years of his prime would have to be sacrificed, to the exclusion of all other studies, should be undertake the study of Sanscrit, or indeed any of the more modern and easy languages of the East. Whatever exertions he might choose to make, he could scarcely hope to distinguish himself in a field already so ably occupied by a Jones, a Wilkins, and a Colebrook. On this point Francis Horner, in a letter to Mr. Thomson of Edinburgh, remarks:-“ Mackintosh carries 'out such a library with him as never, I presume, was known 'in Asia; for his plans of metaphysical and political reading, 'it is admirably selected. He has fortunately no desire to make himself particularly acquainted with either the language or the antiquities of Hindustan ; but he has got permission
1 • from the Board of Controul and Directors to circulate, under their authority, statistical and political queries among all 'the servants of the Company in the different establishments. * This may produce a little. In a few days, the author of • Vindiciæ Gallica is to receive the honor of Knighthood."*
Sir James's first care, after his professional duties, was the creation of a literary taste among the English residents
• Memoirs and Correspondence of F. Horner, M. P., edited by bis brother, Leonard Horner, Esq., F. R. S., vol. 1, page 218.
at Bombay. He found society lamentably deficient in that respect. Those, who held the chief offices under Government, had grown to be men in India: on leaving home they had been mere boys. It could therefore have scarcely been expected that they should be au courant of affairs in the world of letters. To create "a literary atmosphere," to use his own
, words, was one of Sir James' first objects upon his arrival. After some negociations with the leading European residents, a meeting was held at Parell-house, on the 26th November,1804, for the purpose of instituting a society in Bombay, to be called the “ Literary Society.” Its objects were explained in an elegant discourse, written by the President, and read by him on that day before the Governor and several of the leading inhabitants, from among whom his future son-in-law, Mr. W. Erskine, and the late Sir C. Forbes were elected Secretary and Treasurer. As being the parent of the Bombay branch of the Asiatic Society, the library of which is at once the most extensive and well selected, East of the Cape, and with which few of the circulating libraries (in the higher sense of the word) even in Europe can compare, the institution of the Literary Society is of the most interesting character. To it, and to its distinguished founder, is the present Society indebted for its most valuable books. So excellent was his discrimination in the selection of the library, that of the standard works, which at present adorn the shelves of the Asiatic Society, the greater proportion may be traced to him. In looking into the published volumes of the “Transactions of the Literary Society," we find a list of names not unknown to fame. Major David Price was eminent by his contribution towards a history of the Muhammadan dynasty in India ; Dr. Robert Drummond, by the first grammar of the Canarese dialect; Dr. James Ross, by his attainments in Persian literature. Of Sir John Malcolm we need not speak. The present Society ranks among its members many distinguished oriental scholars, such as John Wilson and Dr. Stevenson-not to mention the Honorary Members of the Society, such as Garcin de Tassy, and a host of others : but it seems to wantt he freshness and energy of its predecessor.
In regard to the library, there is room for many improvements. The first should be a good catalogue. The number of medical works is also out of all proportion ; and, with the exception, perhaps, of a dozen volumes, they are all antiquated. This seems the more absurd, because of late years no branch of knowledge has made more rapid strides than medicine. The incongruity, however, is to be traced to the Literary Society, which, when establishing itself in 1805, purchased the
whole of a library, which had been collected by several medical gentlemen of the Bombay establishment.
Of the numerous other faults in the library we shall for the present content ourselves with the mention of twoman objection, and a want. The former applies to the stock of trashy novels, which occupies a goodly array of shelves, and which, every spring, is augmented by the fresh crop, which appears as reguJarly as the rains. The want refers to the scanty supply of foreign works. Thanks to Sir James Mackintosh, the Asiatic Society possesses a few of the Italian and Spanish classics ; but, (will it be credited ?) the only German works to be found in the library are Schiller's. Goethe, were it not for an early and incorrect edition of the “ Faust,” would be an entire stranger. Jean Paul Richter, Ephraim Gottfried Lessing, Theodore Körner, Uhland, the Schlegels, Ranke, and all the other celebrities of German literature, are absent !
Sir James, in addition to the goodly assortment of books which he brought out with him, possessed a choice and extensive library at Parell. Here might be seen all the current literature of the day. There would scarcely pass & month, without the arrival of a ship, with a box of the newest publications from Paternoster Row. His friends were constantly reminded to keep him well supplied. Some passages in his letters are characteristic.
Let me entreat you to miss no opportunity of writing me very long letters, and sending me very large packets of news. papers, magazines, pamphlets, &c., of what you think trash in London. No memorial of the world, in which we have lived, is trifling to us. I am almost ashamed to own, that if I were to receive another Paradise Lost, and a large packet of newspapers by the same conveyance, I should open the last parcel with greater eagerness. Yet why not feel more interest in my friends and my country, than in the most delightful amusements of fancy? Let me remind you, also, of the German and French journals; and to the latter, I beg you to add a new one, Les Archives de la Litterature, par Suard, Morellet, &c. For my list of books I shall trust to my two former letters. I will only add that I believe I have stinted myself too much in Reviews and Magazines, so trifling in London, so invaluable here; and that I beg you to indulge me largely. Besides the regular bound sets of the Reviews, Morning Chronicles, and Cobbetts, I beg you to send by every opportunity as many loose ones as you can collect. Think of these things-so worthless in the midst of the luxury of London, but to me as delightful as a cup of your filthiest Wapping water might be between Bussorah and Alleppo."