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with a long tirade, abridged evidently from the speeches of certain orators, whose eloquence is known to claim the largest portion of the parliamentary columns in our more popular newspapers. The statements and arguments are perfecly familiar to all readers. Chapter Seventh treats of Athenian Learning-Causes of its Decline-Professors-Philosophers -University-Patronage-Athenian Parsons, &c. In the course of his remarks the author is very desirous to establish the fact, that the college of Edinburgh is sinking rapidlythat her philosophers are no more and that her great medical teachers have completely died out without leaving any succession. But these statements are not to be taken literally.. The age of metaphysics has indeed passed by, and Dugald Stewart and his works appear to be equally forgotten. Gregory, Munro, and some other names equally great, have, no doubt, disappeared, and their places are filled by men who have still names to gain; but, notwithstanding these vicissitudes, from which no establishment is exempted, the sciences of medicine and law are as well taught as they used to be in brighter days. But our author maintains, that the case is utterly hopeless, and that the "Athenian university, pressed down by the general circumstances of the Athens, and yet more by the peculiar circumstances of its own patronage, has sunk to rise no more."

But the calamity which has befallen Edinburgh is, it seems, of an epidemic nature, and is advancing with rapid steps to overwhelm our own universities also. If it were not, says this learned dissector of men and things, that there are fellowships, fat dinners, facilities for juvenile dissipation, church and other livings, a key to certain offices, and general nominal eclât, which in so far serves as a substitute for real information, it is very possible that several halls in Oxford and Cambridge would be abandoned to bats and spiders—that "the two eyes of England' would be left for daws to peck at: and it was pretty plain to me, from the general tenour of the Athenian feeling, as expressed in the Athenian speech, that, if the attendance of certain classes of her university were not required for those who plaster the consciences of Caledonian sinners, and who bring down the tone of the Caledonian pulse, or the Caledonian purse, the learned Thebans would be allowed to deliver their prelections to the storms of the vale and the beam of the timber."

In other words, if education were not wanted, schools aud colleges would become quite unnecessary: and we want no stronger proof to satisfy us that the reporter is very ignorant and stupid, than what is supplied to us by the well-known

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fact, that every academical establishment in the kingdom has recently increased very much in number, and particularly the two universities of England. The general illumination of the public mind will never tend to diminish the importance nor lessen the popularity of our colleges. It may be found necessary, perhaps, to modify the system of instruction so as to meet the wants of the age, and to keep pace with the progress of discovery in the physical sciences; but there is not in the nature of things any reason to suppose, that the extension of knowledge among the great body of the people will ever supersede the propriety of a regular and profound education. On the contrary, it will be found, that deep learning is just so much the more necessary in professional men, whensoever the less instructed classes of the community take upon them to speculate and dogmatize in matters of scientific research: and we may illustrate this statement by a reference to the literary history of Edinburgh, as exhibited in the following paragraph:

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"In their philosophical opinions, the Athenians are an absolute pendulum, and when the history of their swingings this way and that way is looked at, they seem to be a pendulum which has no continued stimulus of motion." (Who, by the by, ever spoke of a pendulum being moved by a stimulus?) "but of which the oscillations, though not fewer in numher, gradually become more and more insignificant in range. While David Hume was lord of the ascendant, the Athenians doubted every thing but their own wisdom and importance; under Adam Smith, they considered moral sentiments' as being valuable only in theory, and learned economy' in their "politics by bringing all their vices and votes to the best market.' (Poor sort of humour all this!) "Under Robertson, they knew all history; and with Blair, every sentence was taken from the storehouse of the belles lettres, and measured by the gauge of rhetoric. When Reed and Dugald Stewart turned the tables upon the sceptics, the Athenians were entirely composed of intellectual or of active powers, and they were drawn and held by the sweetest cords of association. With Playfair, they attempted to go quietly to the very depth of philosophic systems; and anon, they started to the moon with Dr. Brewster. While Lesslie was new, they burned and sweated with him in all the ardour of radiant caloric; and now they lie upon mossy banks, prepared for them by Brewster, Jamieson, and Sir George, and listen to the tales of Sir Walter or the ghost stories of Dr. Hibbert. So change the phases of the moon, now beamy, anon blank now pushing her horns eastward, now westward but still the same dark globe, without light, save that which it has at second hand from another.”

Our learned author takes great pleasure in laughing at the

Athenian savants, and in holding up to ridicule their gravest pursuits. He reserves all his favour and kind words for the people, the mechanics and the peasantry; whom he is pleased to elevate to a station higher than their merits, intellectual or moral, will justify, and to describe as being at once the honour and support of the Scottish character. All the great and the good among our northern neighbours spring up from the farm-house or cottage; and nothing, it should seem, disqualifies a Scottish youth so effectually for being either a scholar or a man of sense, as the unfortunate circumstance of having been born in some degree of affluence, and of having lived in comfort and cleanliness the few first years of his life. The following narrative will amuse the reader, and more particularly when he is informed, that the subject of it is the celebrated professor with whom the Athenians are said to have "burned and sweated in all the ardour of radical caloric."

"His father rented a small farm in the kingdom of Fife, and had it not been that accident revealed the genius of the infant philosopher, first to the village parson, next through his advice to the learned professors of St. Andrew's, and, lastly, through the wisdom of that advice, to the world at large, his experiments might have been confined to composts for the fields, instead of compositions for the furtherance of science; and his speculations, instead of grasping the globes of the earth and the heavens, might never have soared above a globe turnip-the future philotopher, as was once the case with nearly all the nascent philosophers of Scotland, divided the year between the study of learning and the observation of nature. When winter had spoiled the fields of their beauty, and driven the shepherds and cowherds into the villages, be went to school; where the Proverbs of Solomon, Ruddiman's Rudiments of the Latin Tongue, and Dilworth's Arithmetic, by turns expanded his wisdom or perplexed his ingenuity; and when the fields were again in flower, and the birds in song, he was sent forth to observe the progress of animal and vegetable life, notice the revolutions of suns, and feel the practical philosophy of wind and rain. In order that there might be economy as well as information in his employment during the latter season, he was injoined to attend to the movements of his father's cows as well as to those of nature; and until he had reached nearly the end of his twelfth year, it remained doubtful whether cattle or causation was to be the future business and glory of his life. In the summer of that year, however, the die was cast, and never was turning up more philosophically fortunate, or more fortunate for philosophy. In one of those village libraries which often contained more rich variety of lore than is to be found among the countless volumes of even an Athenian repository of books, he had found a thumbed and boardless copy of

Simpson's Euclid, which might in its time have perplexed the wits of ten successive classes at St. Andrew's. By that strong intuition which ever characterizes superior genius, even at its earliest dawn, he found out that this was a volume worthy of being read; and throwing aside the Shorter Catechism of the Kirk, as well as the Exploits of George Buchanan, the History of Buchhaven, the exquisite biography of Paddy from Cork, he set fondly and furiously to work upon Simpson's Euclid, preparing his floor and drawing his diagrams in the same manner, though not exactly in the same materials as the philosophers of antiquity. The smooth grassy sod answered all the purposes of the abacus, and the cows generously supplied him with a substitute for the sand. Spreading and smoothing that substitute with his bare foot, he engraved upon it with his finger the mystic lines and letters; and with book in hand, proceeded to establish the elementary principles of geometry, heedless though the cows should, in the mean time, scale the fence, and carry the neighbouring corn by a coup de la bouche.

"One day, as he was occupied in this learned work, the parson of the village happened to be on the other side of the hedge, pacing backwards and forwards, and cudgelling his reluctant and retentive brains for as much of the raw material of sermonizing as would serve to put him and his parishioners over the ensuing Sunday. While he paced and pleaded with his sluggish spirit, his ear was assailed by a continual mumbling of voice through the hedge, which caught so much stronger a hold of him than he could do of his sermon, that his steps and his study were both brought to a dead stand, and his outward ears perked up in the fondest attitude of listening. Ministers as well as men often remember the words of that of which they were never able to grapple with the meaning; and thus, though the old parson did not exactly comprehend the extent of that proposition, the diagram of which the young philosopher had traced upon his soft abacus, and the demonstration of which he was rehearsing in very solemn tones, yet he remembered that such words had been used by one of the professors in that part of his academic course which he had never understood. The parson was astonished, and, for a moment, he doubted the evidence of those ears upon which he had had to depend through a long life. He tried the one; it caught the angles of the base of an isosceles triangle; he tried the other, it continued the enunciation, are equal to one another.' He poked his head half way through the hedge, and the auxiliary testimony of his eyes and spectacles confirmed that of his ears. He saw the abacus, the book, and the student, and forthwith descended to the village, big and puffing with the tale. A visit from the parson at any other hour than that of dinner, is always an ominous matter to some of the family of a Scotch peasant. If the young folks be children, they dread the catechism. If more advanced, there are occasional terrors of that Scotch tread-mill, which iş trodden alone and in presence of the assembled congregation. The mother of the philosopher had nothing to dread upon either of

these grounds, but still she felt all the glow of a woman's curiosity when the parson approached her husband with so hasty steps and so important looks.

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Well, Mr. Lascelles,' said the parson, you must take care of Sock, and that forthwith, for I am thinking that he is a genus.'

"I am very sorry to hear it, sir,' replied Mr. Lascelles, lifting his bonnet, but he is very young, and will get steadier as he grows up. Has he been letting the cows eat your corn?"

"The Lord forbid either the one thing or the other,' said the parson. He is a genus, a mathematical genus, and will be an honour to the parish when we are both dead and gone.'

The father now understood that the words which he had at first considered as lamentation were laudatory; the fatted calf was killed, the parson was feasted, the boy taken from the cows, and sent to college-and the result is a perfect Anak in philosophy."

We can venture on no more than one additional extract, which contains a small portion of truth with a great deal of exaggeration and mis-statement. Speaking of the Modern Athens, he recapitulates his observations as follows:

I have said, and I dare themselves to deny it, that her men in office are a trifling and truckling race; I have said, and I dare themselves to deny it, that a great mass of her scribes unite the worst propensities of the Jew with none of the best of the attorney; I have said, and I dare them to deny it, that her schools of philosophy have fallen into the sear aud yellow leaf, and that her philosophical societies pursue trifles from which even schoolboys would turn with disdain; and I have said, that her gentry have neither the capacity nor the means of encouraging the sciences, literature, and the fine arts: but though I have said thus, and said it from personal-perhaps painful observation, I am bound to add, that in point of intellect, and all matters considered in point of conduct, the populace of the Athens are far superior to any with which I am acquainted. When I visited the public libraries, the men whom I found borrowing the classical and philosophical books wore aprons, while the occasional lady or gentleman that I saw there was satisfied with the romance of the week, or the pamphlet of the day. You find one man laying aside his apron to consult Adam Smith, dispute with Malthus, or rejudge the judges of the Edinburgh Review; another will be found solving mathematical problems, or constructing architectural plans; and all the less proficient will be found attending evening classes, at which they are instructed by able teachers, and for reasonable fees. Society is indeed as it were reversed in the Athens: the men of the law give their evenings to Bacchus; those who are called philosophers give theirs to butterflies: the ladies associate for the purposes of gossipping; and the gentlemen with praiseworthy gallantry assist the ladies; while the artizans pursue literature and study philosophy. Thus, although there be more both of the one and of the other in the Athens than one would at first sight M

VOL. XXIII. FEBRUARY, 1825.

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