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cellars of a populous city, to become the charge of the publick, the especial care of their superiors, and to receive a stamp of moral respectability, that, growing up in the possession of, they will not be willing afterwards to part from.

But while we read with pleasure the sensible plans of Mr. Wilderspin, we perceive the difficulty of their execution; or rather of finding persons to execute them. In a recent visit to the Spitalfield Schools, we saw any thing but the order and management he describes; and while we were delighted to hear the babies singing out the alphabet and the pence table, and clapping their little hands, as if it was the best fun in the world, we could not be pleased to see one boy, considerably above age, and to whom long initiation had made every thing mechanically easy, appealed to in every thing, and answering to every thing, to his own great injury, and the manifest suppression of the powers of all the rest; who, knowing he would be before-hand with them, made no effort to reply or even to attend the master evidently expecting the answer from this one boy. When one is much superior to the rest, he should be removed; or, if kept as a teacher, should never be put in competition with the learners. The difficulty of procuring judicious masters will, we fear, be the great obstacle to the progress of these benevolent institutions. Meantime, whoever has any thing to suggest for the improvement of a scheme that will assuredly spread rapidly, should speak and be listened to.

BAKER AND SON, PRINTERS, SOUTHAMPTON.

THE

ASSISTANT OF EDUCATION.

NOVEMBER, 1825.

A SKETCH OF GENERAL HISTORY.

(Continued from page 197.) PERSIA, FROM THE DEATH OF DARIUS, 485 B, C., TO THE REIGN

OF ARTAXERXES MNEMON.

XERXES, the grandson of Cyrus, succeeding to his father Darius, employed the first year of his reign in completing the preparations of his predecessor for subduing the revolt in Egypt. This being speedily effected, and that country reduced to yet severer servitude, Xerxes assembled his council and proposed to them the invasion of Greece; urging the intentions of his father, the dishonour that remained upon the Persian arms from the affairs of Sardis and Marathon, with the advantages that would accrue from conquest in the fertile countries of Europe. He concluded his speech by promising rewards to all who should distinguish themselves in this expedition, and bidding his counsellors speak with freedom their opinions. It is curious to consider this last kingdom of the first great quarter of the earth, thus consulting over the purposed destruction of the new-risen nations-to observe the whole remaining power of Asia vainly preparing itself to check the advance of Europe, about to take precedence of it in every thing. There were not wanting in Xerxes' council those who perVOL. v.

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ceived the impossibility of the task, and endeavoured to persuade him from it; he had once consented to relinquish it: but urged by dreams, as he alledged-the natural result of a mind so occupied as his—he resumed his purpose, and his courtiers found it more to their interest and safety to encourage than to dissuade him.

To augment his forces, Xerxes entered into alliance with the Carthaginians, now the most powerful people of Africa, who, under Hamilcar their general, agreed to attack the Greek settlements in Sicily, to force a diversion of their armies. With the money also that they contributed, Xerxes hired mercenaries from Spain, Gaul, and Italy; and having passed three years in collecting the forces of his own immense dominions in Asia, with ships, provisions, and every thing requisite, he at length advanced towards the Hellespont. The first thing the proud monarch ordered, was to cut a passage through Mount Athos for his fleet to pass. This mountain is a high land, projecting far into the sea in the form of a promontory, joined to the land by an extensive isthmus. In turning this point the sea was very tempestuous, and the Persian fleet had formerly suffered shipwreck there. To prevent this, Xerxes ordered a canal to be cut through the mountain, or more probably through the low land behind it, broad enough for two galleys to pass abreast. This story is by no means incredible as regards the difficulty of it, if we consider the immense number of persons employed, the length of time expended, said to be three years,

and that the isthmus was but a mile and a half over. But beside that no traces can now be found of this canal, it does appear very improbable that Xerxes should waste three years on such an ostentatious enterprise, when the galleys might with far less trouble have been carried over the land, as was so much the practice at that period.

The story, however, is told for truth in ancient history, which relates that Xerxes, to display his power over the elements of that earth in which he affected to be su

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preme, wrote thas to Mount Athog—" Athos, thou proud and aspiring mountain, that liftest thy head even to the skies, I advise thee not to be so audacious as to put rocks and stones that can be cut down, in the way of my workmen. If thou makest that opposition, I will .

, cut thee entirely down, and throw thee headlong into the sea.” All the forces on board the fleet were employed in the undertaking; they first drew a line before the city of Sama, situated at the foot of Mount Athos towards the land, and then divided the ground among them, each nation having their allotted portion. When the trench was considerably sunk, those who were at the bottom continued to dig, delivering the earth to their companions standing on ladders, who handed it to such as stood higher, till it was conveyed to those that waited to receive it at the edge of the canal, and by them carried to another place. In the meadows adjoining, a court of justice was established, and a market furnished with corn and other necessaries from Asia.

Xerxes commanded also that a bridge of boats should be thrown across the Hellespont, at a place where the waters were seven furlongs over. The work was performed with great expedition by the Egyptians and Phoenicians; but was no sooner finished, than a storm arose, and shattered and dashed upon the shore the vessels of which it was composed. Xerxes, in senseless rage, commanded that 300 stripes should be inflicted on the sea, and a pair of fetters thrown into it, those who executed these orders being enjoined thus to speak : “Thou salt and bitter element, thy master has condemned thee to this punishment for offending him without cause, and is resolved to pass over thee in spite of thy billows and insolent resistance.” Ridiculous as these ceremonies seem to us, they were quite consistent with Eastern modes of acting and speaking-Xerxes was less harmlessly absurd, if, as is told, he ordered the heads of those who superintended the work to be struck off. Other and more effectual bridges were constructed, and

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all being ready, Xerxes departed from Sardis, where he had wintered, to Abydos. Here desiring to take a view of his assembled forces, he ascended a high building, and beholding the sea covered with his ships and the land with his armies, he for awhile exulted in his own conscious greatness--then, suddenly bursting into tears, he expressed himself to his uncle Artabanus deeply affected with the thought of the brevity of human life, when he reflected that of all he now looked upon, none would remain after the lapse of a century. The old man, who had at first opposed this expedition, and ever watched an occasion to impress with right feelings the young monarch's mind, took this opportunity of urging on him the duty of princes to alleviate the sufferings of their subjects, and sweeten the lives it was not in their power to prolong. Xerxes asked his uncle if he still held his first opinion respecting this expedition. Artabanus owned he had still his fears, both from the sea and from the land from the sea, because there were no ports to shelter such a fleet should storms arise--from the land, because there were no means of maintaining so large a company. The king was sensible that he spoke the truth—but it was too late to recede; and he replied, that bold and daring undertakings, however great the risk, could alone procure extraordinary successes--had his predecessors observed such cautious policy, the Persian empire had never attained its present greatness and glory.

All was now ready, and on the appointed day, as soon as the first rays of the sun were seen, all sorts of perfumes were burned upon the bridge, and the way was strewed with myrtle. Xerxes poured from a golden cup a libation into the sea, imploring assistance from the Sun that he might carry his arms victorious to the utmost limits of Europe. He then cast the cup, with a golden bowl and a Persian scymeter into the water, and the troops began to pass the bridges, on one the carriages and beasts of burden, on the other the horse and foot. These

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