Page:Discovery and Decipherment of the Trilingual Cuneiform Inscriptions.djvu/304
THE PERSIAN COLUMN
that his own ingenuity would have been quite equal to grapple singly with the task.
Notwithstanding his avowed disclaimer, he still cherished the opinion that he had really made some important contributions to the determination of the alphabet. On one occasion indeed he went so far as to claim the paternity, directly or indirectly, of at least ten characters, and he referred to his correspondence with Bumouf and Lassen as the medium throu^fh which he had made his influence felt. It is clear, however, that in this he was entirely mistaken. According his own admission, he knew as little of the Continental scholars as they did of him until his first communica- tion to the Asiatic Society, which was received in March 1838. It will be recollected that Bumouf and Lassen liad published their Memoirs two years before ; so neither of these could have been influenced by Rawlinson. It only remains to inquire whether he could have suggested any of the six values ascribed to Jacquet, whose essay appeared in the course of 1838. Here a comparison of dates is not sufficient in itself to determine the question. Eawlinsons communication was known in London on March 14, and was submitted to the French Society on April 20. Jacquet began that very month to publish his criticism of Lassen, and his active mind was full of the subject. He was no doubt present at the meeting when Rawlinson's copy of the inscription was submitted to the Society, and there was ample time for him to profit by any sugges- tions it contained in his future papers on the subject. We have, however, conclusive proof from Rawlins(m's own admission that the values of these six letters were not then known to him. Nor could tliev have been communicated to Jacquet through his subsequentcorrespondence with Burnouf. Jacquet died in July