« FöregåendeFortsätt »
was in the habit of inveighing against it in the strongest, I may truly say coarsest, terms: a circumstance the more remarkable, as he had hitherto been distinguished by the courtesy of his language and the studied politeness of his expressions. Even when engaged in the warmest controversies, and in repelling personal insults, he would not formerly permit himself to use a strong epithet, or utter any reflection which could be considered in the least illiberal or ungentlemanly. During the last period of his life, his manners were much changed, and the powers of his mind seemed to be decaying. Controversy of any kind, in which he formerly displayed such admirable temper and patience, seemed now to throw his mind off its balance. For reasoning, he substituted invective ; and, losing the power of persuasion, attributed bad motives to all who differed in opinion from him.
“ Another proof of the decay of his mental powers, at this period, is the small part he took in the question of the Company's charter, which was to fix the destinies of his country for many years to
From him some great effort might have been expected on such an occasion ; but, for any thing he attempted, either publicly or privately, he might as well have been seated all the while, with Hindu quiescence, under a banyan tree on the
banks of the Ganges. * He latterly expressed a wish to withdraw himself from politics entirely, Ending the discussions into which they led him no longer supportable with any comfort to himself. In short, his intellectual career had drawn evidently to a close; and, though the termination of his natural life may be sincerely regretted by his friends, it is perhaps fortunate for his fame that Providence had decreed he should not outlive his mental faculties."
In conclusion, we may mention that the signature commonly used by the Rajah was Ram Mohun, written in Hindustanee who pls; in Bengalee ST1749. Ram or Rama is the name of the celebrated demi-god, the hero of the Ramayana. Vohun is one of the names of Krishna.
• He thought more of the empty title of Rajah than of the results of the East-India Bill: and if the Company had acknos. ledged this title, they might have calculated on his open support: as they had his secret wishes in their favour.
M. VON KLAPROTH.
The ensuing biography of this eminent orientalist is almost exclusively derived from a memoir by M. C. Landresse, inserted in the Journal Asiatique of Paris, which “ renders to his labours, his talents, and his memory, that public homage which the professors of literature owe to those who illustrate it with their labours."
Mr. Henry Julius Klaproth was born at Berlin, on the 11th October 1783, and he began, so early as the age of fourteen, to devote himself to those studies which soon raised him to the first rank of Oriental scholars. His perseverance and sagacity acquired for him, when a very young man, a store of knowledge which is rarely attained in mature age. His father, the celebrated chemist, whose predilection for the exact sciences disqualified him for appreciating the merits of Oriental literature, considered that his son was wasting his time in vain
od frivolous speculations. This path of study, it bust be confaed, was then sufficiently unpopular ad capromisng, whilst chemical science was enjoving the lustre and renown which the discoveries of Back, Priestley, Bergmann, Lavoisier, l'auyin, and Klaproth, had deservedly earned for it.
The tenderness of his mother secretly encouraged tandent passion in her son, which the cold taste of his father condemned and ridiculed. Young Kapooth felt at this time that insatiable eagerness for bevis, which never for an instant deserted him, or wis suspended even in the midst of pain; and Mo Kaproth, out of her own slender accumulatias a orded him the means of feeding his inappozable appetite. He arailed himself, with equal avy and discernment, of this resource, and he has beta often heard, at a later period of life, to express in the warmest terms his gratitude for it.
That instinctive kind of inclination, or invinable bent of curiosity, which is sometimes called genres, and decides the choice of studies or vocations directed the taste of M. Klaproth to the narrative of travellers. He contrived, for some time, to keep the balance tolerably equal between his own inclinations and his father's wishes; he enen studied chemistry with success, and acquired considerable skill in mineralogy, which was ultimately useful to him in his travels. But the scale soon preponderated in favour of his own favourite pursuits; he neglected and abandoned all other studies for those which were more difficult, and, as some would have said, less useful. The regret which his father experienced at his son's dislike of the career which he had marked out for him, was soon consoled by his success, and he lived long enough to confess “how groundless were his apprehensions, and how futile his prejudices, against a course of application which promised to shed a new glory upon his name.”
The royal library of Berlin, which abounds in many rarities, possesses a pretty large collection of Chinese books. M. Klaproth, at the first sight of them, was seized with an irresistible ambition to learn the language in which they were written. The only means of accomplishing this object were an incomplete dictionary, edited by Mentzel, under the direction of Father Couplet, and a manuscript Chinese and Spanish dictionary, by Father Dias, equally imperfect. His industry was, perhaps, sharpened by these defective implements, and the interest which this curious language inspired was so great, that this novel study captivated his mind and absorbed all his attention. The time drew near when the examiners went through the different