Asiatick Researches

Sir William Jones’ “On the Hindus”

sir william jones

Asiatick Researches was the original journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, founded in 1784 by Sir William Jones (1746-94), under the patronage of Warren Hastings. Jones was made the President of the Society and held the post until his death. He was a linguistic prodigy who knew thirteen languages thoroughly. His important paper "On the Hindus", which was published in the Asiatick Researches, proposed the existence of a relationship among Indo-European languages.

The Calcutta edition of this journal was seen through the press by Jones. The RBLA holds this edition and other examples of early printing in India,mostly given to the library by the East India Company surgeon Thomas Phillips who had spent much of his career on the sub-continent. Phillips was one of the earliest members of the London Royal Asiatic Society and was in Bengal at the same time as Jones.

Jones was influenced by the cultural and intellectual tradition of his Anglesey relation Lewis Morris. The RBLA is fortunate to have two books from the personal library of Morris.

The portrait of Jones shown here was used as a frontispiece to the 1801 London edition of Asiatick Researches and is dated 1799.