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He probably cared nothing for his other labours. But as a metaphysician he placed him in the first rank, and never spoke of him without an expression of veneration, very unusual on the eloquent but somewhat imperious lips of the French philosopher.
The last years of Colebrooke's life were full of suffering, both bodily and mental. He died, after a lingering illness, on March 10, 1837.
To many even among those who follow the progress of Oriental scholarship with interest and attention, the estimate which we have given of Colebrooke's merits may seem too high; but we doubt whether from the inner circle of Sanskrit scholars, any dissentient voice will be raised against our awarding to him the first place among Sanskritists, both dead and living. The number of Sanskrit scholars has by this time become considerable, and there is hardly a country in Europe which may not be proud of some distinguished names. In India, too, a new and most useful school of Sanskrit students is rising, who are doing excellent work in bringing to light the forgotten treasures of their country's literature. But here we must, first of all, distinguish between two classes of scholars. There are those who have learnt enough of Sanskrit to be able to read texts that have been published and translated, who can discuss their merits and defects, correct some mistakes, and even produce new and more correct editions. There are others who venture on new ground, who devote themselves to the study of MSS., and who by editions of new texts, by translations of works hitherto untranslated, or by essays on branches of literature not yet explored, really add to the store of our knowledge. If we speak of Colebrooke as facile princeps among Sanskrit scholars, we are thinking of real scholars only, and we thus reduce the number of those who could compete with him to a much smaller compass.
Secondly, we must distinguish between those who came before Colebrooke and those who came after him, and who built on his foundations. That among the latter class there are some scholars who have carried on the work begun by Colebrooke beyond the point where he left it, is no more than natural. It would be disgraceful if it were otherwise, if we had not penetrated further into the intricacies of Pānini, if we had not a more complete knowledge of the Indian systems of philosophy, if we had not discovered in the literature of the Vedic period treasures of which Colebrooke had no idea, if we had not improved the standards of criticism which are to guide us in the critical restoration of Sanskrit texts. But in all these branches
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of Sanskrit scholarship those who have done the best work are exactly those who speak most highly of Colebrooke's labours. They are proud to call themselves his disciples. They would decline to be considered his rivals.
There remains, therefore, in reality, only one who could be considered a rival of Colebrooke, and whose name is certainly more widely known than his, viz., Sir William Jones. It is by no means necessary to be unjust to him in order to be just to Colebrooke. First of all, he came before Colebrooke, and had to scale some of the most forbidding outworks of Sanskrit scholarship. Secondly, Sir William Jones died young, Colebrooke lived to a good old age. Were we speaking only of the two men, and their personal qualities, we should readily admit that in some respects Sir W. Jones stood higher than Colebrooke. He was evidently a man possessed of great originality, of a highly cultivated taste, and of an exceptional power of assimilating the exotic beauty of Eastern poetry. We may go even further, and frankly admit that, possibly, without the impulse given to Oriental scholarship through Sir William Jones's influence and example, we should never have counted Colebrooke's name among the professors of Sanskrit. But we are here speaking not of the men, but of the works which they left behind; and here the difference between the two is enormous. The fact is, that Colebrooke was gifted with the critical conscience of a scholar-Sir W. Jones was not. Sir W. Jones could not wish for higher testimony in his favour than that of Colebrooke himself. Immediately after his death, Colebrooke wrote to his father, June, 1794:
Since I wrote to you the world has sustained an irreparable loss in the death of Sir W. Jones. As a judge, as a constitutional lawyer, and for his amiable qualities in private life, he must have been lost with heartfelt regret. But his loss as a literary character will be felt in a wider circle. It was his intention shortly to have returned to Europe, where the most valuable works might have been expected from his pen. His premature death leaves the results of his researches unarranged, and must lose to the world much that was only committed to memory, and much of which the notes must be unintelligible to those into whose hands his papers fall. It must be long before he is replaced in the same career of literature, if he ever is so. None of those who are now engaged in Oriental researches are so fully informed in the classical languages of the East; and I fear that, in the progress of their inquiries, none will be found to have such comprehensive views.
And again :"You ask how we are to supply his place ? Indeed, but ill. Our present and future presidents may preside with dignity and propriety; but who can supply his place in diligent and ingenious researches ? Not even the combined efforts of the whole Society; and the field is large, and few the cultivators.'
Still later in life, when a reaction had set in, and the indiscriminate admiration of Sir W. Jones had given way to an equally indiscriminate depreciation of his merits, Colebrooke, who was then the most competent judge, writes to his father :
"As for the other point you mention, the use of a translation by Wilkins, without acknowledgment, I can bear testimony that Sir W. Jones's own labours in Manu sufficed without the aid of a translation. He had carried an interlineary Latin version through all the difficult chapters; he had read the original three times through, and he had carefully studied the commentaries. This I know, because it appears clearly so from the copies of Manu and his commentators which Sir William used, and which I have seen. I must think that he paid a sufficient compliment to Wilkins, when he said, that without his aid he should never have learned Sanskrit. I observe with regret a growing disposition, here and in England, to depreciate Sir W. Jones's merits. It has not hitherto shown itself beyond private circles and conyersation. Should the same disposition be manifested in print, I shall think myself bound to bear public testimony to his attainments in Sanskrit.'
Such candid appreciation of the merits of Sir W. Jones, conveyed in a private letter, and coming from the pen of the only person then competent to judge both of the strong and the weak points in the scholarship of Sir William Jones, ought to caution us against any inconsiderate judgment. Yet we do not hesitate to declare that, as Sanskrit scholars, Sir William Jones and Colebrooke cannot be compared. Sir William had explored a few fields only, Colebrooke had surveyed almost the whole domain of Sanskrit literature. Sir William was able to read fragments of epic poetry, a play, and the laws of Manu. But the really difficult works, the grammatical treatises and commentaries, the philosophical systems, and, before all, the immense literature of the Vedic period, were never seriously approached by him. Sir William Jones reminds us sometimes of the dashing and impatient general who tries to take every fortress by bombardment or by storm, while Colebrooke never trusts to anything but a regular siege. They will both retain places of honour in our literary Walhallas. But ask any librarian, and he will say that at the present day the collected works of Sir W. Jones are hardly ever consulted by Sanskrit scholars, while Colebrooke's essays are even now passing through a new edition, and we hope Sir Edward Colebrooke will one day give the world a complete edition of his father's works.
ART. VII.-1. A System of Surgery, Theoretical and Prac
tical, in Treatises. By various Authors. Edited by T. HOLMES, M.A. Cantab., Surgeon and Lecturer on Surgery at St. George's Hospital, Memb. Corresp. de la Société de Chirurgie de Paris, with Illustrations. Second edition. In
five volumes. London: 1870. 2. Diseases of the Ovaries; their Diagnosis and Treatment.
By T. SPENCER WELLS, F.R.C.S. London : 1872. 3. Lectures on the Progress of Anatomy and Surgery during
the present Century. By Sir W. FERGUSSON, Bart., F.S.S.
London: 1867. 4. Anæsthesia, Hospitalism, and other Papers. By Sir J. G.
SIMPSON, Bart. Edited by Sir W. B. SIMPSON, Bart.
Edinburgh: 1871. 5. Bleeding and Change of Type in Disease. By Dr.
ORLANDO MARKHAM. London: 1866. A RETROSPECT of half a century in any art or science, in A these days of rapid advance, gives us a striking indication of the rate at which it is progressing, and the life that is in it. Whilst, however, the gain may be patent enough to the initiated, the public, lacking any special knowledge of the sealed arts such as Medicine and Surgery, of which we are about to treat, although profiting by the general advance, can only estimate its progress generally. It is our purpose in the following article to point out, step by step, the triumphs of the curative art during the memory of living men, indeed, during the active professional life of many of the present workers, in the great art of saving human life and of alleviating suffering.
It cannot be denied that as regards medicine, previous to that date, our methods of inquiry into the nature and progress of disease were very limited and defective. The physician, who had to deal with organs concealed from the observation of the senses, groped, comparatively speaking, in the dark. Our wonder is, indeed, that treating maladies empirically, as they were obliged to do, they succeeded in even ameliorating diseased conditions, much less in repairing or curing them, as we know they occasionally did. Experience, unless it is founded on exact knowledge, where such a delicate machine as the human frame is concerned, is indeed of but little avail ; and what intimate knowledge, we may ask, had our fathers of
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the minute structure of the human frame? or, what aids had they to help them in diagnosing the condition of a part when in a state of disease? Ask an engineer to give an explanation of the defective working of some complicated machine, placed in some closed and impervious cavity, and you ask the same seemingly unanswerable question that was put to the physician of the past century touching the human machine, a thousand times more delicate and complicated than anything that has been framed by human hands. Behind the chest and abdominal walls lay the whole mystery of life, with whose faulty working our fathers could do little more than guess at; for wanting the special arms of precision, with which we are now furnished, they could only work blindly in the dark, and get at the truth by post-mortem knowledge. Let us imagine the modern physician deprived of the tools he familiarly uses to diagnose the conditions of a part—the stethoscope, for instance. How utterly lost he would be: the heart and the lungs, the organs by which our breath and blood circulate, would be to him as a closed book. All the delicate gradations of sound, by which he knows as clearly as though he saw with his eyes the exact departure of these organs from their normal condition and from their healthy functions, would be to him as though they had never existed. The surgeon equally was at a loss to discriminate the nature of pulsating tumours, and the condition of disease in arteries. The laryngoscope, again, enables the eye to penetrate down the larynx, and by the speculum insight is given into the uterus. By the still more wonderful aid to science given by the ophthalmoscope, we may be said to enter the very brain, and see, as it were on an index, the condition of the cerebral nerves and outer cranial circulation.
An entrance is gained in many directions into what to our forefathers must have appeared the impregnable citadel of the body. The enormous gain to the study of disease we have thereby acquired it is impossible to estimate. New instruments are leading to new trains of thought. They are teaching us how vain are many old remedies and forms of practice, a negative gain humanity should be thankful for. They are opening up new visions of the truth of which we formerly had no glimpse, and they are preparing the way to decisive triumphs, on the verge of which we may now be said to hang. If, however, we may congratulate the present age on these mechanical helps to scientific inquiry, we must not forget that they are but the necessary outcome of a previous growing knowledge. The time was ripe for them. Theoretical truths
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