These newly discovered letters help to reconstruct the close association between two seemingly disparate eighteenth-century Britons in India. Moreover, they suggest that a fixation on clashes of ‘cultural attitudes’ has distorted modern assessments of the politics of scholarly patronage in that era. The long-lauded William Jones and the long-dismissed John Macpherson were not so different after all. The views of each ranged from the sublime heights of Enlightened philosophy to the grubby depths of imperial politics.
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