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We must therefore in teaching youth history, be very careful to make them derive from it one of its principal advantages, which is the regulation of their manners; and to this end we must from time to time introduce short reflections; ask them their own judgment upon the actions they read; accustom them especially not to suffer themselves to be dazzled byavain outward shew, but to judge universally according to the principles of equity, truth and justice; and raise in them an admiration for the modesty, frugality, generosity, disinterestedness, and love for the public good, which prevailed in the happy times of the Greek and Roman republics. When youth are thus timely modelled, and accustomed from their infancy to the study of history to admire examples of virtue, and abhor vice, we may hope that these early seeds, assisted by a superior aid, without which they would soon miscarry, may in due time bring forth good fruit
; and that something might happen to them like what is told of a scholar of Plato's, whom the philosopher had trained up with great care in his own house." When he returned home, and saw his father break out into a violent transport of passion, he stood in amaze, "I " never saw any thing like this, says he, at Plato's.” Apud Platonem educatus puer, cum ad parentes relatus, vociferantem videret patrem: Nunquam, inquit, hoc apud Platonem vidi.
1 VOL dii tio POE con ger de:
CAREFULLY TO OBSERVE EVERY THING THAT
RELATES TO RELIGION. I have one observation more to make upon the study of history, which consists in carefully observing whatever relates to religion, and the great truths which are necessarily dependent upon it. For amidst the confused chaos of ridiculous opinions, absurd ceremonies
, impious sacrifices, and detestable principles, which idolatry, the daughter and mother of ignorance and corruption of heart, has brought forth, to the reproach
of human reason and understanding, there are still to
These, in my opinion, are the principal observations
THE APPLICATION OF THE FOREGOING RULES
TO SOME PARTICULAR FACTS IN HISTORY.
IN making the application of the principles I have here laid down, I shall select, first from the history of the Persians and Greeks, and then from that of the Romans, certain portions and particular facts, to which I shall add some reflections.
OF THE HISTORY OF THE PERSIANS AND
THE first piece taken from the history of the
CYRUS. I shall divide what I have to say concerning Cyrus into three parts; his education; his first expeditions; the taking of Babylon, and his conquests. I shall relate only the most important circumstances of these events, and such as appear to me most proper for the instruction of youth. These I shall extract from Xenophon, whom I take here for my guide, as the author most worthy of credit upon this article. I. THE EDUCATION OF CYRUS. Cyrop. lib. 1. :
Cyrus was the son of Cambyses king of Persia, and Mandane the daughter of Astyages king of the Medes. [r] lle was beautiful in his person, but far more estiinable for the excellent endowments of his mind. He was exceeding courteous and humane, desirous of learning, and ardent for glory. He never feared any danger, nor shunned any labour where honour was to be acquired. He was brought up after the custom of the Persians, which at that time was admirable.
The public good, and general utility was the principle and end of all their laws. The education of children was considered as the most important duty and essential part of the government. The care of it was not entrusted to fathers and mothers, whom a blind and tender indulgence often rendered incapable of it; the state charged itself with it. They were brought up together, and in the same manner. They did nothing but by rule; the place and duration of their exercises were fixed, the time of their meals, the quality of what they were to eat and drink, the number of their masters, and the different kinds of correction. Their whole food, as well for children as young inen, was bread, and cresses, and water; for their view was to habituate them early to temperance and sobriety; and besides, this sort of simple and frugal food, without
[r] Είδος μίν κάλλισος ψυχήν δε φιλανθρωπότατος, φιλομαθίςατος, και φιλοτιμότατος. .
any mixture of sauces and ragoos, strengthened their bodies, and laid a foundation of health capable of supporting the severest fatigues of war till they grow old, [s] as is observed of Cyrus, who found himself as strong and robust in his old age, as he was in his youth. They learned justice in schools, as in other places they do literature; and ingratitude was the criine they punished most severely.
The view of the Persians in all these wise institutions was to be beforehand with evil, as they were persuaded that it was better to prevent faults than punish them; and whereas in other nations they were contented with inflicting punishments upon criminals, the Persians endeavoured in a manner to hinder there being any criminals amongst them.
They continued in the class of children till they were sixteen or seventeen years old ; they then entered the class of youths. They were then laid under the greatest restraints, as that age stood most in need of them. They spent ten years in this class. During this interval, they were every night upon guard, as well for the security of the city, as to inure them to fatigue. In the day-time they went to receive orders from their governors, attended the king when he went a hunting, or applied themselves to their exercises.
The third class was formed of inen grown, and there they continued five and twenty years. From hence were taken all the officers, that were to command in the troops, and fill the different posts, employınents, and dignities of the state. And hence they passed into the last class, from whence the wisest and most experienced were chosen to form the public council.
By these means every citizen might aspire to the first offices of the state; but none could arriveat them, till they had passed through these different classes, and became capable of them by all these exercises.
(s) Cyrus non fuit imbecillior in senectute, quam in juventute. Cic. de Senect. 0. 30. VOL. II.
un migl "bo "Bu
Cyrus was brought up in this manner till he was twelve years old, and always excelled his equals, both in facility of learning, in courage, and dexterity in executing whatever he undertook. His mother Mandane then carried him into Media to visit his grandfather Astyages, who had heard so much of the fame of this young prince, that he was very desirous of seeing him. He found the manners of the Median court very
different from those of his own country. Pomp, luxury, and magnificence universally prevailed. He was not at all dazzled with it, and without criticising or condemning it, he stood firm to the principles he had imbibed from his infancy. He charmed his grandfather with his wit and vivacity, and gained all heart by his noble and engaging carriage, of which I shall relate a single instance, from which we may form a judgment of the rest.
Astyages, to make his grandson think no more of returning into his own country, prepared a sumptuous entertainment, in which he spared for no expence, either as to the quantity or the quality and delicacy of meats. Cyrus looked upon all these preparations with a great deal of indifference. And as Astyages seemed very much surprised at it; The Persians, says he, in stead of so many turnings and windings to satisfy their hunger, take a much shorter way to the same end; a little bread and cresses will do it at any time. His grandfather giving him leave to dispose of the dishes that were served up as he thought fit, he distributed them inunediately among such of the king's officers as were present; to one he gave, because he taught him to ride; to another, because he served Astyages well; to a third, because he was very careful of his mother. Sacas, Astyages's cup-bearer, was the only person to whom he gave nothing. This officer, besides his place of cup-bearer, had the post of introducing such asweré to have audience of the king; and as it was not possible for him to grant this favour to Cyrus as often as he required it, he had the misfortune to displease the young prince, who expressed his resentment upon this