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It stands alone in the history of human speech, like the wonderful race which first created and still preserves it.
Soon after the war of Independence broke out, the deputies of the nation assembled at Epidaurus and framed a constitution, under which a provisional government was organized. One of the articles of this constitution abolished slavery for ever in Greece, another established a system of general education throughout the country. While the Greeks were thus employed, the Turks were perpetrating the Massacre of Scio, a barbarous and bloody act, which should have united the Christian nations of the West in an unalterable purpose to drive them from Europe back into Asia from whence they came. The legality of the Hellenic mind was strikingly exhibited in the state papers passed by the Congress of Epidaurus. The Declaration of Independence was a dignified and eloquent appeal in behalf of the justice of their cause; and the securities for liberty and for the general education of the people embodied in the fundamental law, and adopted in the midst of the clang of arms, at the very first moment that the old Hellenic spirit could declare itself, bear honorable testimony to the elevated characters of the men who hazarded lives and fortunes for the regeneration of their country. And yet the Congress of European diplomatists at Verona, towards the close of the same year, were not ashamed to call on the Greeks to submit to their lawful sovereign the Sultan, whose savage hordes were still reeking with the blood of men, women and children, indiscriminately slaughtered ; whose slavemarkets were crowded with Christian captives, and - whose Pachas filled their harems with Christian maidens, torn from homes where many of them had been brought up in the enjoyment of every refinement and every luxury.
During the war the universal sufferings of the nation made it impossible to organize effectively the system of education ordained by the provisional constitution. In the year 1827, Count Capo d'Istria, a Greek statesman of distinguished ability, then in the service of Russia, was selected President of the Nation. To govern a country in the distracted condition of Greece at that time, so as to satisfy all parties,was a task beyond the genius of any statesman ; but whatever faults may justly be found with the administration of the President, the support he gave to popular education was deserving of the highest praise. A somewhat arbitrary act, made necessary, perhaps, by the state of the times, drew upon him the resentment of the powerful clan of Mavromichales, the chief of which he had imprisoned. Two of the old man's sons lay in wait for the President, and assassinated him as he was entering the church of St. Spiridion, at Nauplia, in October, 1831. This event compelled the great powers, France, England, and Russia, who had assumed the protectorate of Greece, and who had placed Prince Leopold, the present king of Belgium, on the throne of the new kingdom, — a dignity which he resigned in three months, — to take measures for the final settlement of the nation. Their choice fell upon Prince Otho, the second son of Louis, king of Bavaria, who was ac
knowledged by the nation in 1832, and arrived at Nauplia in 1833. This Prince was born in 1815, and was consequently but seventeen years old in 1832. His majority, was fixed at the age of twenty. In the meantime the government was carried on in his name by a Bavarian regency, and a Bavarian army was sent to maintain order in the country. The exhausted state of the nation made it necessary to raise a loan to meet the current expenses of the · administration, and to assist the people in repairing the ravages of war, and resuming the occupations of peace. Sixty millions of francs were negotiated under the guarantee of the protecting powers. This loan, under the direction of the Bavarian statesmen, was not expended with that practical wisdom which the state of the nation required, and the debt, increased by the accumulation of unpaid interest, remains a heavy burthen upon the country to the present day. But the Regency, with all their errors, gave an enlightened support to the system of public instruction, the details of which they greatly improved. In 1835 the king assumed the reins of government, which he carried on without a constitution through his Ministry and a Council of State until 1843. The bloodless revolution already referred to, took place in that year. The new constitution, which contains all the important guarantees of civil liberty, borrowed from the provincial constitution of 1822, the articles excluding slavery, and establishing on the broadest basis the system of universal education. From that day to the present the schools, gymnasia, and the University have gone on rapidly
improving and enlarging. Public instruction is one of the departments of the government, and is under the charge of a Cabinet minister, whose annual reports form a series of the most interesting documents, and contain a minute history of the progress of public education from year to year. The schools are the demotic, divided into several classes, in which the elementary branches are taught to pupils of both sexes : — the Hellenic, or Middle Schools, chiefly for boys, but some also for girls ; the gymnasia, now thirteen in number, three of which are in Athens ; and at the head of the whole system the University of Otho, in Athens. Beside these there are the Military School, in Peiræus ; the Agricultural School, at Tiryns; the Polytechnic School, at Athens; the Rizarean Theological School, at Athens; the Parthenagogeion, or College for the education of young women; besides a considerable number of private schools, established with the consent of the government, not only in Athens, but in other parts of Greece. I have not time nor space to enter minutely into the details of this system. It is supported partly by the government, partly by moderate taxes upon the people, and partly by numerous endowments from wealthy Greeks in different countries of Europe. For example, within a few years Baron Sinas, a rich banker in Austria, in addition to numerous previous benefactions, has given half a million of francs to found an Academy of Arts and Sciences. Another Greek, Platygenes, a native of Thessaly, dying two or three years ago, bequeathed two hundred thousand francs to the University ; and about the same time a knife grinder, whose whole estate amounted to six hundred drachmas, bequeathed one hundred to the University. These are only specimens of what is constantly happening in that country. The efforts on the part of the government and the citizens are met with corresponding zeal on the part of the young. I have no where seen such ardent enthusiasm for literary improvement among the youth in both sexes as in Greece. It is no uncommon thing for young men, the sons of peasants in the interior, to come to Athens and let themselves out as waiters in the hotels and cafés, asking no wages except their board, and the privilege of attanding the schools an
by listening to the recitations of the classes, which they are kindly allowed to do by the teachers. I have frequently visited the schools of different grades in the city of Athens, and I have never entered one of them without seeing persons of this description standing in the aisles and listening with absorbed attention to the lessons. Indeed the desire for education has assumed a disproportioned intensity in the minds of the rising generation. You may hear young men discussing points of Homeric philology, or
mopylæ, or the defeat of the Persians at Marathon, without having taken off their dress for several days, and wearing fustanella, in the folds of which lurk other animated beings beside themselves. I inquired one day in the fish market of Athens, where certain fish were taken, which were exposed for sale on the tables ; the fishermen answered, “ In the Strait of