Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/391

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

one of the Brahmanas, as a specimen of its legend lore. He also issued, in a succession of small mphlets (1873-S), ‘Specimens of South Indilan Dialects;‘ and an edition, prepared from the author's own manuscript, of Beschi‘s celebrated work on High Tamil and on Tamil poet and rhetoric, which bears the title ‘Clavis Iilhmaniorum Litterarum Sublimioris Tamulici Idiomatis’ (1876). Another work, ‘The Aindra School of Sanskrit Grammarians ’ (1875) ‘ propounded a new theory on the development of grammatical science in India, which, if it has not met with general acceptance, has at all events set scholars thinking and working in a new direction’ (Max Mdruzx). Many minor communications were also addressed to the ‘Indian Antiquary.'

Burnell’s health had from childhood never been strong, and his excessive exertions, extended over many years, in trying to combine heavy official work with studious labour in the most exhausting of Indian climates, broke him down. He had gone through a severe attack of cholera, followed at a later date by partial paralysis, hefore his last return to Europe in 1880, and he suffered besides from other constitutional disease; yet he had so far recovered that his friends began to hope that, though severe labour and return to India were alike out of the question, he might still complete some of the work that he had begun. His lost two winters were spent at San Remo. He returned from Italy in the early summer of 1882, and while staying at his brother’s house at West Stratton, Hampshire, was struck with a chill, which brought on inflammation of the lungs. He died there on 12 Oct., and was buried in Micheldever churchyard.

Of Works left by Burnell unfinished two have since been published; l. ‘A Translation of the Ordinances of Manu.’ Of this nearly the whole of the introduction and one half of the translation were done. The work has since been completed hyan American scholar, Dr. E. W. Hopkins, and published by Trübner & Co. (Oriental Series, 1885). 2. A reprint of the old English version of Linschoten’s ‘East Indies,' with interesting notes. Of this one half was done and in type. It was completed by Mr. P. A. Tiele of Utrecht, and issued by the Hakluyt Society (2 vols. 8vo, 1885). Another work, undertaken jointly with Colonel Yule, had been the occasional occupation of both for many years, and Burne1l’s part in it had been retty well completed. It has just appeared)(18S6) as ‘Hobson Jobson, being a glossary of Anglo-Indian colloquial words and phrases.' A portrait of Burnell is at p. xiii, During the last years of his life Burnell took great interest in the history and literature of Portuguese India, and he had collected many valuable books on the subject, which would probably (had life been granted) have formed the foundation of interesting work. Preliminary labours of love in this connection were a ‘Tentative List of Books and some MSS. relating to the History of the Portuguese in India Proper’ (Mangalore, 1880); and a reprint (like the last, for a few friends only) in a very handsome form, with preface and notes, of an excessively rare and curious Italian version of King Emanuel of Portugal's letter to Ferdinand of Spain, giving an account of the voyages and conquests in the East Indies between 1500 and 1505, originally printed at Rome in the latter year.

Burnell, in addition to his profound knowledge of Sanskrit and wide acquaintance with the vernaculars of Southern India, had some knowled of Tibetan (which he had studied with 5; late Mr. Jäschke when a fellow-passenger from India in 1868), of Arabic (the oriental language in which he passed in the competitive examination for the civil service), of Kawi, Javanese, and Coptic. Pali had been an eager object of study before he went to India, and perhaps for some time there also. But he soon left it. His collectanea on Pali are all of early date. His latest love in study was given to the Italian writers of the Renaissance, and especially to Cardinal P. Bembe, his intense admiration of whom did not meet with much appreciation among his corrmpondents either in England or in Italy. He was a lover of books of every kind, reading largely, collecting largely, spending largely upon them, and lending them liberally. The circle of his intimates was not large, but where he gave his friendship it was given very heartily and generously. Nothing could exceed his helpfulness and liberalily to other students. Numerous as were the aptplications made to him for manuscripts, or or information of many kinds, he always tried to satisfy them to the best of his abilitiy, and without regard to expense. He woul make a long journey to enable him to answer a question of ‘geographical identification; he would send home manuscripts to scholars in need of them, and accept no payment; books and series of photographs were often sent in the same fashion. Ahser thc presentation of his own manuscripts to the India Library in 1870, he recommenced collecting on his return to India, and had gathered about 350 more. These were purchased from his heirs by the secretary od) state in council for the same library.