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to Lisbon, with two young men dispatched as ambassadors, to desire instructors to be sent for the conversion of his kingdom.
The ambassadors were honourably received, and baptized with great pomp, and a fleet was immediately fitted out for Congo, under the command of Gonsalvo Sorza, who dying in his passage, was succeeded in authority by his nephew Roderigo.
When they came to land, the king's uncle, who commanded the province, immediately requested to be solemnly initiated into the christian religion, which was granted to him and his young son, on Easter day 1491. The father was named Manuel, and the son Antonio. Soon afterwards the king, queen, and eldest prince, received at the font the names of John, Eleanor, and Alphonso; and a war breaking out, the whole army was admitted to the rites of christianity, and then sent against the enemy. They returned victorious, but soon forgot their faith, and formed a conspiracy to restore paganism ; a powerful opposition was raised by infidels and apostates, headed by one of the king's younger sons; and the missionaries had been destroyed had not Alphonso pleaded for them and for christianity,
The enemies of religion now became the enemies of Alphonso, whom they accused to his father of disloyalty. His mother, queen Eleanor, gained time by one artifice after another, till the king was calmed; he then heard the cause again, declared his son innocent, and punished his accusers with death.
The king died soon after, and the throne was disputed by Alphonso, supported by the christians,
and Aquitimo his brother, followed by the infidels. A battle was fought, Aquitimo was taken and put to death, and christianity was for a time established in Congo ; but the nation has relapsed into its former follies.
Such was the state of the Portuguese navigation when in 1492, Columbus made the daring and prosperous voyage which gave a new world to European curiosity and European cruelty. He had offered his proposal, and declared his expectations to king John of Portugal, who had slighted him as a fanciful and rash projector, that promised what he had not reasonable hopes to perform. Columbus had solicited other princes, and had been repulsed with the same indignity; at last Isabella of Arragon furnished him with ships, and having found America, he entered the mouth of the Tagus in his return, and shewed the natives of the new country. When he was admitted to the king's presence, he acted and talked with so much haughtiness, and reflected on the neglect which he had undergone with so much acrimony, that the courtiers who saw their prince insulted, offered to destroy him ; but the king, who knew that he deserved the reproaches that had been used, and who now sincerely regretted his incredulity, would suffer no violence to be offered him, but dismissed him with presents and with honours.
The Portuguese and Spaniards became now jealous of each other's claim to countries which neither had yet seen; and the Pope, to whom they appealed, divided the new world between them by a line drawn from north to south, a hundred leagues westward from Cape Verd and the Azores, giving all that lies west from that line to the Spaniards, and all that lies east to the Portuguese. This was no satisfactory division, for the east and west must meet at last, but that time was then at a great distance.
According to this grant, the Portuguese continued their discoveries eastward, and became masters of much of the coast both of Africa and the Indies; but they seized much more than they could occupy, and while they were under the dominion of Spain, lost the greater part of their Indian territories.
A GENERAL PLAN OF EDUCATION.
HE importance of education is a point so ge
nerally understood and confessed, that it would be of little use to attempt any new proof or illustration of its necessity and advantages.
At a time when so many schemes of education have been projected, so many proposals offered to the Publick, so many schools opened for general knowledge, and so many lectures in particular sciences attended; at a time when mankind seems intent rather upon familiarising than enlarging the several arts; and every age, sex, and profession, is invited to an acquaintance with those studies, which were formerly supposed accessible only to such as had devoted themselves to literary leisure, and dedicated their powers to philosophical enquiries; it seems rather requisite that an apology should be made for any further attempt to smooth a path so
frequently beaten, or to recommend attainments so ardently pursued, and so officiously directed.
That this general desire may not be frustrated, our schools seem yet to want some book, which may excite curiosity by its variety, encourage diligence by its facility, and reward application by its usefulness. In examining the treatises hitherto offered to the youth of this nation, there appeared none that did not fail in one or other of these essential qısalities; none that were not either unpleasing, or abstruse, or crowded with learning, very rarely applicable to the purposes of common life.
Every man, who has been engaged in teaching, knows with how much difficulty youthful minds are confined to close application, and how readily they deviate to any thing, rather than attend to that which is imposed as a task. That this disposition, when it becomes inconsistent with the forms of education, is to be checked, will be readily granted; but since, though it may be in some degree obviated, it cannot wholly be suppressed, it is surely rational to turn it to advantage, by taking care that the mind shall never want objects on which its faculties may be usefully employed. It is not impossible, that this restless desire of novelty which gives so much trouble to the teacher, may be often the struggle of the understanding starting from that to which it is not by nature adapted, and travelling in search of something on which it may fix with greater satisfaction. For without supposing each man particularly marked out by his genius for particular performances, it may be easily conceived, that when a numerous class of boys is confined in