Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

tory of letters. Less regard seems to have been paid to science by the Seleucida; but they cultivated the favourite and almost peculiar art of the Greeks, that of stamping metals with consummate beauty and ingenuity; and by their coins and medals, the imperfect remains of their history have often been illustrated. The condition of the native Orientals is not easily to be distinguished. The remote and barbarous provinces, wherein but few Greeks were settled, probably felt little more than a nominal subjection, and retained such laws and customs as they might have of their own. Even in the city of Seleucia, Polybius seems to speak of magistrates or judges belonging to the native inhabitants. Their condition, however, where the Greeks were numerous, as in Syria or Cilicia, was probably little better than servile; at least those countries seem to have supplied slaves to the markets of Greece and Italy.

III. If we were to appreciate political vigour merely by extent of dominion, the kingdom of Syria would appear incomparably the most powerful of those that were shared amongst the conquerors of Ipsus. But it was weakened by its own size, and by the difficulty of retaining in subjection nations distinct in their race, manners, and language. The distant provinces were necessarily entrusted to the care of viceroys, who sometimes became too powerful to continue subjects.' Two successive revolts of Molo in the Upper, and of Achæus in the Lesser Asia, threatened the throne of Antiochus the Great; and although his victories for a time reestablished the Syrian power throughout Asia, yet after his death, or rather after the inglorious events of the latter part of his reign, it soon fell to pieces, and, in less than half a century, was reduced to insignificance. Even in its best days, we must not conceive, that the successors of Seleucus possessed that firm and well compacted sovereignty over all parts of their dominions, which notions borrowed from modern Europe would lead us to expect. They received assistance in 'war, and tribute in peace, from many barbarous nations, who maintained in their own precincts a virtual independence. The writ of the king of Syria, we suspect, did not run into the mountains of the Mardi or the Carduchi. But decisive proofs of their weakness appear in the countries which were successively dismembered from their dominions. In Asia Minor, the northern parts were occupied by the three petty kingdoms of Pergamos, Bithynia, and Paphlagonia, and the more powerful one of Pontus; a horde of Gauls and the kings of Cappadocia shared part of the midland district; and latterly, a nest of pirates fastened upon the southern coast of Pamphilia and Cilicia. In the east, their possesions were equally dilapidated. Immediately after the death of Alexander, an Indian chief, by name Sandrocottus, drove the Macedonians from the Panjab; and Seleucus prudently sold his claim to those distant conquests for 500 elephants. So little is heard afterwards of the provinces lying on the hither side of the Indus, about Candahar, that we may suspect them to have followed the example. Theodotus, a Greek, soon afterwards revolted in Bactria, and established a dynasty which lasted for near a century and a half, till it was swept away by an invasion of Tartars; which is attested at once by the historians of Greece and of China. This little kingdom, stationed as it were upon the outpost of civilized life, has excited some interest in modern times; and Mr Gibbon has thought fit to give them credit for being the instructors of the Tartars, and even the Hindoos, in science. It was not, however, as has sometimes been imagined, insulated, till within a few years of its downfal; the kings of Syria retaining the adjacent province of Ariana, part of the present Khorasan and Sigistan. A far more important people occupied the western parts of Khorasan, the Parthians, who are thought with much probability to have been a Scythian clan, which at an early period had fixed itself in that region. Antiochus the Great kept them within bounds ; but after his death they encroached upon Media, and finally usurped all the provinces to the east of the Euphrates.

The kingdom of Egypt, though necessarily more circumscribed than that of Syria, was less liable to dismemberment. Its limits were however various. Cyrene was its permanent appendage. It contained also generally Cyprus, and sometimes Colo-Syria, which was its debateable frontier on the side of Asia. Two only of its monarchs seem to have achieved more extensive conquests. In the golden age of Ptolemy Philadelphus, Crete, Caria, and Lycia, were subject to Egypt. At a later period, Ptolemy Euergetes gained more unprofitable trophies, from an expedition into Nubia, the memory of which is preserved by an inscription discovered in that country about the 6th century. But when the Romans came to meddle with the affairs of the East, the kings of Egypt felt their inadequacy to contend; obeyed the mandates of the republic with humiliating obsequiousnesss, and were rewarded by that great Polypheme, with the privilege of being devoured the last.

In extent and opulence, the kingdom of Macedon was the least considerable of the three. In rating its effective power, we should perhaps make a different estimate. Though not very commercial, it contained mines of the precious, as well as the ruder, metals. Its natives formed excellent soldiers, brave, faithful, steady and patient. It was embraced, except on the side of the sea, by a strong mountainous barrier ; beyond which, to the north and east, dwelt fierce and warlike barbarians, which, though not always in very thorough submission, were commonly its auxiliaries in the field. By the resistance which it made to the Roman arms, we may judge of the intrinsic strength of Macedon. The contest was quite unequal. Rome had ceased to fight up hill, and had come to wield forces of every kind, far superior to those of any competitor. Yet even under these disadvantages, the unpopular and spiritless Perseus was able to foil three successive Roman consuls in the defence of his country. The harsh measures to which the Romans resorted, prove the sense they entertained of the compatriots of Alexander. Mavedon was divided into four districts, perfectly distinct in police, and government; and, to render the separation more perfect, intermarriages among their exclusive inhabitants were prohibited. There is one peculiarity which applies equally to the Macedonians and Greeks of Syria and Egypt. Though each of their royal families was placed upon the throne by no right but conquest, though they had supplanted and extinguished the ancient stock, though their own elevation was recent in the memory of man, their subjects appear to have felt, for them, all that blindness of loyalty, which is commonly supposed to follow only long established and illustrious dynasties. No impostor, who made pretensions to royal descent, failed of temporary success; even though he claimed to draw his breath from the contemptible Perseus, or the frantic Antiochus Epiphanes. So irregular is the attachment of nations to their rulers, and so fallacious the reasoning of those who suppose that such sentiments cannot be felt for those whose possesion is but of yesterday, and whose title is the sword.

east,

ART. IV. Outlines of a Plan for educating Ten Thousand Poor

Children, by establishing Schools in Country Towns and Villages ; and for uniting Works of Industry with useful Knowledge. By Joseph Lancaster. 8vo. London. 1806.

Though it fell to our lot to defend Mr Lancaster against the

cruel and unfounded clamour to which he was exposed, partly because he had the misfortune not to be a member of the church of England, principally on account of his great merit,-our observations, at that period, were more calculated to repel the aggressions of his enemies, than to explain the nature, and to enforce the importance of his improvements in education.

We premise that we are going to say a great deal about slate pencils, primmers, and spelling-books. We are aware such details must be very dull, and would be unpardonable, if they were not eminently useful. We would not, however, load our pages with them, if the object were to recommend an ingenious theory for triał, rather than to explain an invention which has been als ready attended with the most perfect success. If an artist comes with a tiresome and complicated machine, and boasts of its exa traordinary powers, we have a right to say, go to work, and give us some proof. But when he accepts the challenge, and in practice outdoes his own boastings, it is necessary to look over every tack and pinion of his instrument,-to speak of it honourably, that it may be studied, -and to describe it perspicuously, that it may be imitated.

We shall state the mcthods of Mr Lancaster in the branches of education which his school comprehends,---point out the leade ing principles on which he appears to have conducted his institution,-discuss, shortly, the question of his originality, and then take the liberty of making a few remarks on the much, and lates ly agitated question, of the education of the poor.

The first or lowest class of children are taught to write the printed alphabet, and to mame the letters when they see them. The same with the figures used in arithmetic. One day the boy traces the form of the letter, or figure; the next day he tells the name, when he sees the letter. These two methods assist eacli other. When he is required to write H for example, the shape of the letter which he saw yesterday assists his manual execution ; - when he is required to say how that letter is named, the shape of the letter reminds him of his manual execution ; and the manual execution has associated itself with the name.

In the same manner he learns syllables and words; writing them one day,---reading them the next.

The same process for writing the common epistolary characs ter, and for reading it.

(A) This progress made, the class go up to the master to read, a class, consisting perhaps of 30. While one boy is reading, the word, ex. gr. Ab-so-lu-ti-on, is given out with a loud voice by the monitor, and written down by all the other 29 boys, who are provided with blates for that purpose ; which writing is looked over by the monitors, and then another word called, and so on; whoever writes a word, spells it of course at the same time, and spells it with much more attention than in the common way. So that there is always one boy reading, and tuerity-nine writing

and

* This is ihe only instance of solitary reading, and is used rather as a more particular trial of a boy's progreis : in general, Mr Lancafe disapproves of it, as it creates no emulation,

[ocr errors]

9

and spelling at the same time; whereas, in the ancient method, the other twenty-nine did nothing.

(B) The first and second classes write in sand; the middle classes on slates; only a few of the upper boys on paper with ink. This is a great saving in point of expense ;- in books the saving is still greater. Twenty or thirty boys stand round a card suspended on a nail, making a semicircle. On this card are printed the letters in a very large character ;-these letters the boys are to name, at the request of the monitor. When one spelling class have said their lessons in this manner, they are despatched off to some other occupation, and another spelling class succeeds. In this manner, one book or card may serve for 200 boys, who would, according to the common method, have had a book each. In the same manner, syllables and reading lessons are printed on cards, and used with the same beneficial economy.

(C) In arithmetic, the monitor dictates a sum, ex. gr. in addition, which all the boys write down on their slates. For example,

7 2 4
3 7 8

4 6
He then tells them, aloud, how to add the sum. First column
6 and 8 are 14, and 4 are 18; set down 8 and carry 1 to the
next column ;-and so on. In this manner, the class acquire fa-
cility of writing figures, and placing them; and, by practising
what the monitor dictates, insensibly acquire facility in adding.
Again they are placed round arithmetical cards, in the same man-
ner as in paragraph (B), and required to add ap the columns.
This method evinces what progress they have made from the pre-
ceding method of dictating ; and the two methods are always
used alternately.

It is obvious, that a school like this of Mr Lancaster's, con-sisting of from 700 to 1000 boys, would soon fall into decay, without a very close attention to order and method. In this part of his system, Mr Lancaster has been as eminently successful as in any other; contriving to make the method and arrangement, so necessary to his institution, a source of annusement to the children. In coming into school, in going out, and in moving in their classes from one part of the school to another, the children move in a kind of measured pace, and in known places, according to their number, of which every boy has one. Upon the first institution of the school, there was a great loss and confusion of hats. After every boy has taken his place there, they all stand up, expecting the word of command, Sling your hats! upon which they immediately suspend their hats round their necks by a string provided for that purpose. When the young children write in

sand,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »