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TO SIR THOMAS SABINE PASLEY, BART. (In answer to a question about Public and Private Schools.)
Rugby, April 15, 1835. The difficulties of education stare me in the face, whenever I look at my own four boys. I think by and by that I shall put them into the school here, but I shall do it with trembling. Experience seems to point out no one plan of education as decidedly the best; it only says, I think, that public education is the best where it answers. But then the question is, will it answer with one's own boy? and if it fails, is not the failure complete? It becomes a question of particulars : a very good private tutor would tempt me to try private education, or a very good public school, with connexions amongst the boys at it, might induce me to venture upon public. Still there is much chance in the matter; for a school may change its character greatly, even with the same master, by the prevalence of a good or bad set of boys; and this no caution can guard against. But I should certainly advise any thing rather than a private school of above thirty boys. Large private schools, I think, are the worst possible system : the choice lies between public schools, and an education, whose character may be strictly private and domestic. This, I fear, is but an unsatisfactory opinion; but I shall be most happy to give you all the advice that I can upon any particular case that you may have to propose, when I have the pleasure of seeing you in Westmoreland. We are just going to embark on our time of gaiety, or rather, I may say of bustle ; for we shall not dine alone again for the next fortnight. I am going southwards instead of northwards, to my old home at Laleham, which I can reach in twelve hours, instead of twenty-four. You may imagine that we often think of Fox How, and I sighed to see the wood anemones on the rock, when on Tuesday I went with all the children, except Fan, to the only place within four miles of us, where there is a little copse and wood flowers.
TO H. STRICKLAND, ESQ.
Rugby, May 18, 1835. I congratulate you on your prospects of exploring Asia Minor, and I should be most happy to give you any assistance in my power towards furthering your objects. You know, I dare say, a map of Asia Minor, published a few years since, by Colonel Leake, and shewing all that was then known of that country. The Geographical Society will give you all information, which you may need as to more recent journeys; but I imagine little has been done of any account. What is to be done, may be divided naturally into two heads, physical research, and moral, in the widest sense of the term. As to the former, you can need no suggestions from me. I am curious to know about the geology-whether the salt lakes of the interior belong to the red marl formation, and whether there are any traces of coal. With regard to the botany, every observation, I suppose, will be valuable,—what trees and shrubs appear to be the weeds of the soil; and whether there is any appearance or tradition that these have changed within historical memory ;-whether there are any traces of destroyed forests, and whether the sands have encroached or are encroaching on the available soil, either in the valleys or elsewhere. Again, all meteorological observations will be precious :-variations of temperature at different levels or distances from the sea; suddenness of changes of temperature; prevailing winds, quantity of rain that falls, &c. All facts that
All facts that may throw any light upon the phenomena of malaria are highly important; and I think it is worth while to bear in mind the possible, if not probable, connexion between epidemic disorders and the outbreak of volcanic agency and electrical phenomena. The return of crops-how many fold the seed yields in average seasons, is also, I think, a fact always worth getting at.
Now for matters relating to man. Asia Minor has little historical interest, except as to its coasts : you will not find any places of note, but you may find inscrip
tions, and of course coins, which may be valuable. The point for inquiry, as far as it may be possible, seems to me to be the languages and dialects of the country. The existence of the Basque language, as well as of the Breton and Welsh, shows how aboriginal dialects will linger on through successive conquests in remote districts. Turkish can hardly be the universal language, or, if it is, it must be more or less corrupted with a foreign intermixture; and then, any of these corrupting words may be very curious, as relics of the original languages; and Phrygian, we know had, even amongst the Greeks, a character of high antiquity. If you find any unexplored libraries, look out for palimpsests; in these lies our only chance of recovering any thing of great value; and though you will not have time to spell them out, yet a cursory glance may give you some hints as to what they are, and
to direct the inquiries of others. All old or actual lines of road are worth attending to, and, of course, all statistical information. If possible, I would take a Strabo with me, and an Herodotus; also, if you go to Trebizond, the Anabasis. I should like to explore the valley of the Halys, which, I suppose, must be one of the finest parts of the whole country ; but the greatest part of it, I imagine, will be sadly tiresome.
Rugby, May 20, 1835. I have just been setting my boys a passage out of your edition of Blackstone, to translate into Latin prose, and while they are doing it, I will begin a letter to you. I have had unmixed satisfaction in all I have heard said of you since your elevation. So entirely do I rejoice in it, both publicly and privately, that I could almost forgive Sir R. Peel's ministry their five months of office for the sake of that one good deed. I do hope I shall see you ere long, for I yearn sadly after my old friends.
I live alone, so far as men friends are concerned, and am obliged more and more to act and think by myself and for myself. It was therefore very delightful to me to get your little bit of counsel touching the delay of my book, and I am gladly complying with it. But I have read more about it, and for a longer period, than perhaps you are aware of; and in history, after having reached a certain point of knowledge, the after progress increases in a very rapid ratio, because the particular facts group under their general principle, and gain a clearness and instructiveness from the comparison with other analogous facts, which in their solitary state they could not have.
Your Uncle said, many years ago, that “it could not be wondered at if good men were slow to join Mr. Pitt's party, seeing that it dealt in such atrocious personal calumnies.” I think I have had within the last three or four months ample reason to repeat his observation. Had you not been on the Bench, I should have consulted you as to the expediency of noticing some of them legally; and now, as far as you can with propriety, I should much like to hear what you would say. The attacks go on weekly, charging me with corrupting the boys' religious principles, and intending, if they can, to injure me in my trade. ... I think that this spirit of libel is peculiar to the Tories, from L'Estrange and Swift downwards : just ask yourself, if you have known any Tory not more engaged in public life than I am, and having given as little ground for attack by personalities on my part, who was abused by the Liberal papers as I have been by the Tories. I often think of the rancorous abuse which the same party heaped upon Burnett, and how that Exposition of the Articles, which Bishops and Divinity Professors, and Tutors now recommend, was censured by the Lower House of Convocation as latitudinarian. δέχομαι τον οιωνον. .
I hope you saw Wordsworth when he was in London, and that you enjoy his new volume. I have been reading a good deal of Pindar and of Aristophanes lately,—Pindar
after a twenty years' interval, and how much more interesting he is to the man than to the boy. As for Homer, it is my weekly feast to get better and better acquainted with him. In English I read scarcely any thing, and I know not when I shall be able to do it. We go on here very comfortably, and the school is in a very satisfactory state. I had the pleasure of seeing some of the best of my Rugby pupils here at Easter, and one of the best of my Laleham ones was here a little before. It is the great happiness of my profession to have these relations so dear and so enduring. I had intended to go to Oxford to-day, to have voted in favour of the Declaration instead of the Subscription to the Articles, but I could not well manage it, and it was of little consequence, as we were sure to be beaten. It makes me half daft to think of Oxford and the London University, as bad as one another in their opposite ways, and perpetuating their badness by remaining distinct, instead of mixing.
Rugby, May 27, 1835. I sincerely congratulate you on being honoured with the abuse of my friend the Northampton Herald, in company with Whately, Hampden, and myself; and perhaps I feel some malicious satisfaction that you should be thus in a manner forced into the boat with us, while you perhaps are thinking us not very desirable companions. It was found, I believe, at the Council of Trent, that the younger clergy were far more averse to reform than the older; just as the Juniores Patrum at Rome, were the hottest supporters of the abuses of the aristocracy; and so the Convocation has shown itself far more violent and obstinate against improvement than the Heads of Houses. It is a great evil-a national evil, I think, of very great magnitude ; for the Charter must be, and ought to be, granted to the London University, if you will persist in keeping