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gether with equal force, to those of the Romans. Elegance and accomplishment seem rather to have been the chief objects of attainment than deep physical and analytical science. Polite literature and statistics were almost swallowed up in the vortex of natural philosophy; and logic, or rather dialectics, usurped the place of induction. Rome, moreover, like Athens, does not appear to have been possessed of any public establishment for a general course of science, similar either to the universities or the Institutions of the present day.

There are various writers who have endeavoured to draw up lists of Greek and Roman names, from the books that have descended to us of persons who were celebrated, in their respective eras, in different branches of the arts and sciences. Among the most complete of these are the tables of the Baron de Sainte Croix, of the Academy of Belles Lettres : and as nothing can give us a clearer idea of the prevailing taste and inclination of a people, than a comparison of the numbers of those engaged in one department with those engaged in others, I have taken some pains to form, from these tables, an estimate to this effect. The tables extend through nearly the whole range of Grecian history, (though they are confined to that history,) from the uncertain time of Orpheus and Cadmus, to that of Euclid; or, in other words, from the commencement of the twelfth or thirteenth, to the close of the third century before the Christian era.

They contain the names of 863 persons, as artists or men of literature : and upon arranging them into their different classes, I find the relative proportion as follows:

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Hence it appears, that far more persons were engaged in the two last classes, or those of poetry, music, and painting, and of statuary and sculpture, than in all the other classes collectively; that next to these, the legislators and philosophers were most numerous, and then the orators, rhetoricians, and sophists; that but little comparative attention was paid to natural history and agriculture, and still less to mechanics; and that not a single name has reached us in the departments of mineralogy, statics, hydrostatics, trades, and manufactures; to say nothing of chemistry and pneumatics, which may principally be regarded as sciences of modern times.

That several of these latter departments were studied to a certain extent is unquestionable; but it is also equally unquestionable that that extent must have been very limited, since otherwise the names of those who had studied or cultivated them must have descended to the present day in some of the writings that have reached us.

This comparative view of the arts and sciences of Greece may, with little variation, be applied to those of Rome. The study of the fine arts, however, was here less extensive; and the race of orators and political demagogues, in consequence of the peculiar character of the government and of the people, more numerous. Natural history and agriculture, moreover, appear to have made more progress, and various branches of trade and manufacture to have been cultivated with more success.

Upon the whole, however, Rome added but little to what she derived from Greece: nor has much been added in any subsequent era, or by any nation amidst which the variable fortunes of science and literature have compelled them to take shelter, till within the course of the last two centuries; towards the beginning of which period, Lord Bacon observed, with not more severity than correctness, that "the sciences which we profess have flowed almost entirely from the Greeks; for those which the Roman or Arabian, or still later writers, have added, are but few, and these few of but little moment; and, whatever they may be, are built upon the foundation of what the Greeks invented; so that the judgment, or rather the prophecy of the Egyptian priest, concerning the Greeks, is by no means inapplicable, that they should always continue boys, nor possess either the antiquity of science, nor the science of antiquity.'"*

It remained for this extraordinary character, who thus fairly estimated in his own day the value of ancient and modern learning, to break through the spell which fatally pressed upon it, and seemed to prohibit all further progress. It is to Bacon, and almost to Bacon alone, that we are indebted, if not for the scientific discoveries that have enriched the last two centuries, and struck home to every man's business and bosom, at least for that mode of generalizing the laws of nature, and of connecting the various branches of the different arts and sciences, which have chiefly contributed to those discoveries; which have called mankind from the study of words to the study of things, and have established from the book of nature the truth of that maxim, which had hitherto only loosely floated in the books of the poets, that

All are but parts of one stupendous whole.

It was my intention, in proof of this assertion, to have taken a brief survey, even before we closed the present lecture, of the shifting scenes of science and literature from the decline of the Roman Empire to their re-establishment in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; to have given a glance at them in their retreat amidst the eastern and western caliphats, in what have usually been called the dark ages of the world, extending from the fifth, but especially from the seventh to the fifteenth century; to have contemplated them on their re-appearance and first spread, their resurrection and restoration to life and action, under the fostering providence of the illustrious houses of Medici, Urbino, Gonzaga, and Este; from which last, the most ancient and most distinguished of the whole, our own royal family derive their descent; to have surveyed them as basking under the patronage of Leo X.; but especially as they were affected by the wonderful and all-controlling influence of the Reformation which occurred during papacy; and to have compared the character they then assumed, with that which they exhibit in our own day;-but, interesting as the subject


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is, I am compelled by want of time to postpone it till our next lecture, when I shall return to the subject, and carry it forward as the period will allow.

I shall only further observe, that, on the first reviviscence of literature, it was chiefly limited to classical and philosophical subjects, and confined to the courts of princes, or the walls of universities, which were now established in almost every state of Europe; the classical or ornamental branches being mostly cultivated in the courts, and the speculative or philosophical in the schools. And such, with little variation, continued to be the course of learning, till the appearance of that great luminary in the hemisphere of letters to whom I have just adverted. No sooner, however, had the writings of Bacon and of other characters of a similar comprehensiveness of mind, who co-operated in his views, become diffused, than institutions of another class were found wanting :-a something that might fill up the space between the cloistered scholar and the irrecondite citizen; the dry principles of speculative science, and the living practice of the artist and the mechanic. And hence, academies and societies for natural knowledge became organized and incorporated-museums were founded-taste, ingenuity, and invention commenced a happy intercourse -the general results of their communications were, for the most part, periodically published, and the great mass of mankind became more generally enlightened than in any former period of the world.

But a mode of acquiring a familiar and systematic initiation into the general circle of the arts and sciences, was still felt desirable for the body of the people; a sort of rudimental education, by which they might be able to assist and appropriate the knowledge that was flowing around them in every direction; that might call forth their own energies and resources, and reflect with increased lustre the light in which they were walking. And hence have arisen these scientific schools which are now commonly known by the name of Institutions; and especially, if I mistake not, the school I have the honour of addressing.

An establishment of this kind, to be perfect, should be possessed of a library adequate to every inquiry-a laboratory and a museum of equal extent, and a course of instruction commensurate with the whole circle of the sciences. Such an establishment, however, is not to be expected; and especially in our own country, where the government is seldom solicited for assistance, and the sole endowment results from the joint patronage and contribution of individuals. All that remains for us, therefore, is to make the best use of the means that are in our power, and to carry them to the utmost extent they will reach; and I can honestly congratulate the members of the Institution before me, with having, in this respect, conscientiously acted up to the fullest limits of their duty, and of having rather set an example than followed one; for it is a matter of notoriety to the world at large, that there is no other Institution in which the same measure of income has been extended to the same measure of ac quiring knowledge, whether by books or by lectures.



If we examine the history of Europe in a literary point of view, we shall find it consist of three distinct periods-an era of light, of darkness, and of light restored. To the first of these periods I directed your attention in the preceding lecture. We noticed the general state of literature and the mode of education adopted in Greece and Rome, at the most splendid epochs of these celebrated republics, and briefly compared them with the means of acquiring knowledge in our own day; and we at the same time glanced rapidly at the intervening space, or middle period; or rather only touched upon a few of its leading features, from an impossibility of compressing even a miniature sketch of its history into the limits of a single lecture; though it may be remembered that I threw out a pledge of returning to the subject on the present occasion, and of investigating it in a more regular detail.


A part of that pledge I shall now, by your permission, endeavour to redeem; by taking a survey of the general literature, or ignorance of mankind, which characterized that wonderful era which has usually been described by the name of the DARK, or MIDDLE AGES; and which extends from the fall of Rome before the barbarous arms of the Goths, in the fifth century, to the fall of Constantinople before the equally barbarous arms of the Turks, in the fifteenth century; thus comprising a long afflictive night of not less than a thousand years; yet occasionally illuminated by stars of the first magnitude and splendour and big with the important events of the sack of Alexandria and the destruction of its library; the triumph and establishment of the Saracens, and their expulsion from Spain; the devastation of Europe, and the overthrow of its ancient governments in favour of the feudal system, by successive currents of barbarians from the northwest of Asia, pouring down under the various names of Alans, Huns, Ostro-goths, and Visi-goths, or eastern and western Goths; sometimes in separate tides, and sometimes in one united and overflowing flood; the deliriums of chivalry, of romance, and crusading; the introduction of duels and ordeals; of monkery and the inquisition; the separation of the eastern from the western church; and the first gleams of the Reformation, under the fearless and inflexible Wyckliff. And, in our own country, the descent of Hengist on the isle of Thanet; the establishment of the Saxon octarchy; the general sovereignty of Egbert; the glorious and golden reign of Alfred; the conquest of the Norman invader; the bloody feuds of the houses of York and Lancaster; and their termination, on the union of the two families, after the memorable battle of Bosworth.

This will lead us to the fair epoch of the revival of letters under the patronage of Leo X., and the still more commanding influence of the Reformation; a period, however, upon which it will be impossible for us to touch in the course of the present inquiry, though I shall still bear it in memory, and request your attention to it on a subsequent opportunity.

The literary taste and pursuits of Rome continued nearly the same under her emperors as during her republican form of government. Athens was still the alma mater of the higher ranks of her youth; and, as she increased in opulence and in luxury, she resigned herself more fully to

those Grecian blandishments which were despised under the commonwealth.

On the death of Constantius, which took place in our own city of York, in the year of our Lord 306, for even Britain had at this time bowed down, through a large extent of her territory, before the mistress of the world; Constantine, his favourite son, was, agreeably to his father's will, proclaimed emperor in his stead. Galerius, however, who was co-emperor with Constantius, opposed this regulation, and endeavoured to secure the whole of the empire to himself; while various other chieftains taking advantage of the public confusion, not less than four competitors assumed the imperial purple at the same time. It was the good fortune of Constantine to triumph over all his rivals; and having at length securely seated himself on a throne whose dominion extended over almost the whole of Europe, and a considerable part of Asia and Africa, he resolved upon building a new imperial city, more immediately in the centre of his dominions; and for this purpose chose the spot of the ancient Byzantium, than which the whole globe could not offer a more auspicious situation, whether in regard to climate, commercial intercourse, or defence. The walls of Byzantium rose on the Thracian coast of the Propontis, or modern Sea of Marmora; secured by the key of the Thracian Bosphorus on the left, which gave an entrance to the Euxine, and the whole interior of the north; and by the key of the Hellespont, or Dardanelles, as it is now called, on the right, directly opening into the Archipelago, and communicating with every other part of the world; the whole of civilized Europe lying immediately behind, and Asia and Africa immediately in front; surrounded by all those scenes which had been richest in harvests of Grecian glory, and had chiefly contributed to immortalize the Grecian name. The language was Greek, the country was Greek, and the customs and manners still possessed that mildness and suavity which so peculiarly characterized this polished people; and which, in no inconsiderable degree, have descended to the present hour. The city, thus erected, the Roman emperor called after his own name, Constantinople; he removed the court to it from the old metropolis, and by the enormous sums he expended upon it, and the encouragement and patronage he lavished upon settlers of every kind, and especially upon men of letters and artists, he beheld it, in a few years, rivalling the magnificence, and even the extent of Rome itself. He endowed it with the same rights, immunities, and privileges; and established an equal senate, equal magistracies, and other authorities, and declared it to be the metropolis of the East, as Rome was that of the West. Constantinople is also worthy of attention on another account, as being the first city in the world that was dedicated by the authority of the government to the service of the Christian religion.

The fact of Constantine's conversion is too important, and the means by which it was accomplished too singular to be passed by on the present occasion; and that I may not be suspected of exaggeration or undue embellishment, I shall give it you in the plain, unvarnished words of the very cautious and authentic writers of the Ancient Universal History.

In describing the war in which Constantine was involved with Maxentius, his most powerful competitor for the empire, they thus observe, at the same time giving their authorities, as they proceed, with an indefatigable research, and weighing them with a scrupulous circumspection which has rarely been equalled in later times: "In this war Providence had something in view, infinitely more important than the rescuing of Rome from

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