The Spencers of Althorp and Sir William Jones: A Love Story

One of our club at the Turk's head [Edward Gibbon, a fellow member of Samuel Johnson's literary club] has just published an History of the Decline of the Roman Empire, which I fancy you will read with pleasure: it is written in an elegant and easy style; but with very little verve or vigour.

— William Jones to the Viscount Althorp, later the 2nd Earl Spencer,

February 23, 1776

When I was at sea last August, on my voyage to this country, which I had long and ardently desired to visit, I found one evening, on inspecting the observations of the day, that India lay before us, and Persia on our left, whilst a breeze from Arabia blew nearly from our stern. A situation so pleasing in itself, and to me so new, could not fail to awaken a train of reflections in a mind, which had early been accustomed to contemplate with delight the eventful histories and agreeable fictions of this eastern world. It gave me inexpressible pleasure to find myself in the midst of so noble an amphitheatre, almost...


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