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They opened an intercourse with Asia Minor, by which they acquired a knowledge of the arts and modes of government in nations more civilized, than their own. To these causes, and the wisdom and penetration of their Legislator Minos, may be attributed the early superiority of the Cretan monarchy; founded as it was, on just and equal laws, and supported by a mild, yet vigorous administration. To introduce frugality and industry, agriculture, that source of health and useful occupation, was brought into the highest reputation, as well as into general practice. The profound sagacity of Minos discovered, that he could not more effectually promote the security of his kingdom, and the happiness of his people, than by forming them to habits of industry and virtue.

As a wise and tender father, anxious for the welfare of all his children, cannot be satisfied that any of them should be destitute of the -means of instruction, so this distinguished Lawgiver provided for the education of every 'class of his subjects; that each might contribute his quota to the general improvement of society.

What advancement in civilization might many parts of the world present at this day, had legislators, in successive ages, been actuated by a

policy as enlightened; by an intellectual tone and vigour as dignified, as that which characterized this distinguished heathen! During a period of 3,000 years, how little progress has been made, in many countries, towards ameliorating the condition of man! Not till the nineteenth century of the Christian era, have the energies of Britain been combined to rescue from ignorance, vice, and degradation, the most considerable part of the mass of her population.

Real greatness of mind, a disposition worthy the Father of his people, is never more illustriously displayed than in the solicitude of a prince for the happiness of the meanest of his subjects. A remarkable instance of this genuine patriotism was exhibited not long ago in the declaration of the British monarch, that he wished the poorest person in his dominions, to be qualified to read the Bible. Moral and religious instruction, inculcating relative duties, sows the seeds of just subordination, concord, and harmony.

Crete, under its mild and admirable system of jurisprudence, made more rapid advances in moral and political knowledge, than any of the neighbouring contemporary states; and, for a time, its example had a beneficial influence over the whole of Greece. That celebrated lawgiver Lycurgus, visited Crete, that from the in

stitutions of Minos he might derive means of improving the Spartan code. Was any other trait necessary to evince the mildness and benignity of Cretan jurisdiction, it would be sufficient to advert to the prohibition of cruelty and injustice towards prisoners of war, who became the property of the captors. Once in the year, at the feast of Mercury, it was required of masters to perform the same offices to their slaves, which they had performed for their masters during the preceding part of the year.

Favourable as the situation of Crete was for maritime enterprize, yet not till a century after the reign of Minos, have we any account of a naval expedition. The first war was termed the Argonautic, from Argo, the name of the largest vessel in the fleet. Those who embarked in it were to open the commerce of the Euxine sea, by clearing the coast of pirates; but when they had succeeded in this object, and had punished violence and rapine in others, they were guilty of turning their arms against the unoffending inhabitants of Colchis, whom they plundered of the gold and slaves which that country afforded. This event soon kindled a martial ardour; a turbulent and restless ambition was generated, which eventually promoted the downfal of Grecian power.

But shall Britons arraign the conduct of a

people, who were but just emerging from a state of barbarism, and were unacquainted with those benevolent precepts, which are calculated to produce in Christians the tenderest sensibilities, and the kindest emotions? How light must the guilt of the Argonauts appear, when contrasted with that of the professed followers of Christ; if any there are, who, in defiance of the voice of their country, and in violation of its legislative authority, continue to the present day, the dreadful traffic in human flesh and sinews.

In this land of liberty, in this age of boasted refinement, can any be worthy of the blessings of civilization, and the protection of equal laws, who, to the cruelties which a trade in slaves implies, are adding all the crimes by which an unlawful commerce is carried on; who are exerting their polluting influence, to involve other nations more deeply in the complicated guilt? How dreadful must the retribution be which awaits such as these! A reciprocal intercourse of kind offices might have united many nations in the bond of general society. Commerce, by extending the sphere of activity throughout various parts of the earth, by satisfying the necessities, and multiplying the accommodations of life, might have called forth the intellectual powers of genius and discrimination, in countries which

are now immersed in barbarism, ignorance, and superstition.

In reverting to the early annals of history, we shall observe, that many additions were made by the Greeks, to the mythology which they had imported from other nations; and a passion for the marvellous, paved the way for the introduction of all kinds of fable; whilst undoubtedly, their poets prompted and kept up this false taste.

Homer, and his contemporary Hesiod, have been styled the theologians of the people. But Homer must also be considered in the light of a historian, notwithstanding those ages, termed heroic, were times of barbarism. The judicious author of the Elements of General Knowledge observes: "Although many of Homer's descriptions may be fictitious, yet some regard to truth, some representation of events and actions which really took place, must have been the ground of the early reputation of the Iliad and Odyssey.

"The connexion, clearness, and consistency of many anecdotes preserved in them, appear very great, when compared with the dark and uncertain traditions of those early ages. He gives a complete view of the religion, government, and arts of his countrymen at the time of the Trojan war, which took place more than eleven centuries before the christian era.



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