oriental scholar. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1772, and in the spring of 1773, at the same time as Garrick, a member of the Literary Club, of which Dr. Johnson was the presiding genius. He became intimate with many of the most distinguished scholars on the continent, and among his own countrymen with Burke and Gibbon.
But Jones soon found that the study of oriental literature, though it might bring him reputation, did not furnish a means of livelihood. He therefore turned his thoughts to a legal career, and was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1774. He threw himself with characteristic ardour into the uncongenial work, and though he never became a learned English lawyer in the technical sense, he eventually showed himself a profound jurist. In 1776 he was appointed one of the sixty commissioners of bankrupts, an office of small emolument, and in 1778 he showed the influence of his new profession in his translation of the ‘Speeches of Isæus in Causes concerning the Law of Succession to Property at Athens.’ In 1780 he published ‘An Inquiry into the Legal Mode of Suppressing Riots,’ and in 1781 an essay ‘On the Law of Bailments.’ In the ‘Essay on Bailments’ he criticised the celebrated analysis of Lord Holt in Coggs v. Bernard, and the authority of his work has always stood high (cf. Smith, Leading Cases, 9th edit. i. 225, &c.) In America the reputation of the treatise has been even more conspicuously recognised than in this country, and Justice Story declared that had Jones never written anything but this essay ‘he would have left a name unrivalled in the common law for philosophical accuracy, elegant learning, and finished analysis’ (North American Review, November 1817, vi. 46–7). Jones also took a keen interest in politics, and in 1780 he offered himself as a candidate for the representation of the university of Oxford in the House of Commons. But his liberal opinions, his detestation of the American war and of the slave-trade were too strongly expressed to be agreeable to the voters, and he withdrew from the contest in order to avoid an overwhelming defeat. In spite of law and politics, however, his chief interest was still centred in the study of oriental literature. In May 1780 it appears from his printed address in the Bodleian Library that he was an unsuccessful candidate for the lord almoner's professorship of Arabic at Oxford. In 1781 he completed his translation of ‘The Moallakat, or the Seven Arabian Poems which were suspended on the Temple at Mecca;’ the volume was published in 1783.
Jones had long desired an appointment as judge of the high court at Calcutta. The office promised him means to marry and a comfortable income, besides the opportunity of prosecuting his oriental studies in India itself. But his avowed hostility to the American war delayed the realisation of his wish. Lord North was naturally reluctant to give Jones preferment. In 1783, however, the strong representations of Dunning, lord Ashburton, induced the coalition ministry of the Duke of Portland to appoint Jones to the desired judgeship. He was knighted on 19 March 1783. He had long been engaged to Anna Maria, eldest daughter of Dr. Shipley, bishop of St. Asaph and a member of the Literary Club. In April he married her and set sail for India.
The ten years from December 1783 to his death in April 1794, which Jones spent in India, were the most important of his life. He performed his judicial functions with great ability, but his main pursuits were literary and juristical. His first work was the foundation of the Bengal Asiatic Society in January 1784, and his eleven anniversary discourses to the society as president, and his contributions to the society's ‘Asiatic Researches’ mark an era in the study of the Indian languages, literature, and philosophy. The titles of his ‘Discourses’ are: ‘On the Orthography of Asiatick Words,’ 1784; ‘On the Gods of Greece, Italy, and India,’ 1785; ‘On the Hindus,’ 1786; ‘On the Arabs,’ 1787; ‘On the Tartars,’ 1788; ‘On the Persians,’ 1789; ‘On the Chinese,’ 1790; ‘On the Borderers, Mountaineers, and Islanders of Asia,’ 1791; ‘On the Origin and Families of Nations,’ 1792; ‘On Asiatick History, Civil and Natural,’ 1793; ‘On the Philosophy of the Asiaticks,’ 1794 (Asiatic Researches, vols. i.–iv.)
Many Englishmen, notably Warren Hastings, who had spent long years in India, had become profoundly versed in the languages and literature of the country; but they were too much occupied with the practical work of administration to embody their knowledge and researches in literary and scientific form. Jones, on the other hand, came to India with a mind imbued not only with enthusiasm for oriental studies, but with a wider knowledge of classical and other literatures than men sent to India in their early manhood ordinarily possessed. Moreover, he could express himself in writing with rapidity and elegance. No subject was too abstruse or too trifling for Jones to investigate. Hindu chronology, music, and chess were all studied and described by him. He planned an exhaustive work on the botany of India, and paid attention to the local zoology. The famous asoka tree of Indian mythology and