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ANCIENT CHARACTERS.

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of the family usually attended. On a friend's asking her father how he permitted her to do so, he replied, “Why, to tell you the truth, Elizabeth had not a very good temper before ; she was sometimes apt to be very warm, and I find her now so much improved in this respect, that I have no objections to her going to any church where she appears to get so much benefit.” While we cannot but admire the good sense of such a reply, does not the anecdote suggest an important hint to every young reader who professes to have any discernment of christian doctrine, and to consider it a privilege to hear it faithfully preached ? Let such see that they eminently adorn their religious profession by a temper and conduct becoming the Gospel.

(INNES’s Domestic Religion, p. 52.)

ANCIENT CHARACTERS.

No. IV.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT. It has been the fault of biography in general, and especially of ancient biography, that those who have undertaken to give an account of great and illustrious men have too often, hy an excessive partiality for the characters they intended to pourtray, been led to overcharge their portraits with an undue proportion of virtues and excellencies, and to throw into the shade those ungovernable passions which, so far from raising their heroes beyond the standard of ordinary men, have indeed, as it respects moral worth, reduced them greatly below it. This fault has produced consequences of no light amount. For some persons, blinded with admiration of the talents of antiquity, have been led to imagine that the illustrious characters of Greece and Rome have exhibited the most perfect models of prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, in short, of every personal and social virtue ; while others, misled by false ideas of military glory, have been induced to prefer names distinguished for bril.. liancy of conquest, and thirst of dominion, to those

which are associated with the mild virtues of calm and peaceable government.

In no instance, perhaps, has this error been more conspicuous, than in the accounts which have been handed down to us of the life of ALEXANDER the GREAT. In order that the readers of the Youth's Instructer may not be left to form an erroneous opinion of this noted personage, I have drawn up a short sketch,- not of his life, strictly speaking,—but of his exploits only, from which, I think, a more correct judgment of his real character may be formed, than by any other means.

On the day on which the temple of Ephesus was burned, ALEXANDER, the son of Philip, King of Macedon, was born. He was educated by ARISTOTLE, the most celebrated philosopher of that age; and became passionately fond of the poems of HOMER, which he afterwards carried about with him in a rich casket, taken from the spoils of Darius, King of Persia. On the death of his father, ALEXANDER ascended the throne at the age of twenty. One of his first exploits was to raze the town of Thebes, and to put up to sale 30,000 inhabitants which it contained. Being named Generalissimo of the troops of Greece, which his father had subdued, he conquered Asia Minor, and danced round the tomb of ACHILLES, the hero for whose memory he had a singular veneration,

After a great victory which he cbtained over DaRIUS, he became master of Susa. At the conclusion of a drunken entertainment, he burned the palace of XERXES ; and afterwards carried off all the riches of Persia upon twenty thousand mules and five thousand camels.

He caused PARMENIO and his son PHILOTAS to be put to death without any positive charge; and killed with his own hand Clitus, his intimate friend, in a moment of anger. He caused MENANDER, another of his friends, to be put to death for a slight military disobedience. CallisTIENES, being suspected by bini of a conspiracy, was arrested by his order, and thrown into prison, where he perished for want. . .

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As if impelled only by the instinct of destruction, he marched towards the East, carrying devastation and death among nations who had never before heard of him. In this dreadful excursion, which is called the Conquest of the Indies, having negotiated a treaty with the chiefs of a besieged fortress, he put them and their soldiers all to the sword, as they were retiring upon the faith of oaths. When arrived upon the banks of the Ganges, his soldiers refusing to pass the river, he lay down upon the earth, and remained eight days without speaking. He then went back, having ruined a hundred and fifty nations, and destroyed five thousand towns.

While passing through the country of the Orites, three-fourths of his army (which originally consisted of not less than 120,000 foot and 15,000 horse) perished with hunger and for want of every kind. When arrived in a more fertile country, he set an example to his troops of every species of excess; travelling in an immense chariot, upon which was an ostentatious table continually covered with rich viands and intoxicating liquors : his court followed in carriages, under moving arbours; and his soldiers, crowned with vine. leaves, closed the procession in frantic revelling.

He built a town upon the banks of the Hydaspes, in honour of his horse Bucephalus, and another in me. mory of his dog Peritas. JIEPHÆSTION, his favourite, dying in consequence of having eaten, though ill, a. capon, and drunk a bottle of wine, while his physician, GLAUCUS, was at the theatre, ALEXANDER ordered the physician to be crucified, had all the horses and mules shorn, knocked down the battle. ments of the neighbouring cities, and in an excess of rage, caused by the loss of his friend, he marched with a body of his army, into the country of the CusSEANS, where he exterminated the people, children and all.

He killed OXYARTES, one of his lieutenants, with a thrust of his pike, and caused A BULITES, the father of OXYARTES, to be poisoned. He put PolyMACHUS to death for having searched for the tomb of Cyrus.

CASSANDER, the son of ANTIPATER, having laughed at seeing some barbarians prostrate themselves before the throne, ALEXANDER seized him by the hair, and with both hands dashed his head against the wall.

At a feast given to his friends and officers, he promised that the man who drank most should be crowned for his victory. PROMACHUS, who gained the prize, drank about fourteen quarts, and survived only three days; but forty-one of the guests died at the conclusion of the feast.

At length ALEXANDER died himself, at the age of thirty-three ; whether by excess of drink or by poison is uncertain : and, for so many glorious actions, Greece decreed him the title of GREAT. In later times, he kas been called, not improperly, Macedonia's Madman. It was part of the heathen idolatry to venerate such characters as ALEXANDER ; but we, who live under the light and influence of the Gospel, can consider them only as scourges of mankind and pests of the world.

R.

HISTORY OF THE NEW RIVER, LONDON.

(From the Percy Anecdotes : No. 5.) During the reigns of QUEEN ELIZABETH and JAMES I., Acts of Parliament were obtained for the better supplying of the Metropolis with water : but the enterprise seemed too great for any individual, or even for the city collectively, to venture upon, until MIR. Hugu MIDDLETON, a native of Denbigh, and Goldsmith of London, offered to begin the work. The Court of Common Council having accepted his offer, and vested him with ample powers, this gentleman, with a spirit equal to the importance of the undertaking, at his own risk and charge began the work. He had not proceeded far, when innumerable and unforeseen difficulties presented themselves. The art of civil engineering was then little understood in this country, and he received many obstructions fidn the occupiers and proprietors of lands through

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which he was under the necessity of conducting this stream,

The distance of the springs of Amwell and Chad. well, whence the water was to be brought, is twenty miles from London; but it was found necessary, in order to avoid the eminences and valleys in the way, to make it run a course of more than thirty-eight miles" The depth of the trench," says Srowe, " in some places descended full thirty feet, if not more; whereas in other places it required as spright. ful arte againe to mount it over a valley in a trough between a couple of hills, and the trough all the while borne up by wooden arches, some of them fixed in the ground very deepe, and rising in height above twenty-three foot.”

This industrious projector soon found himself so harassed and impeded by interested persons in Middlesex and Hertfordshire, that he was obliged to solicit a prolongation of the time to accomplish his undertaking. This the city granted; but they refused to interest themselves in this great and useful work, although Mr. MIDDLETON was quite impoverished by

it. He then applied with more success to the King · himself; who, upon a moiety of the concern being made over to him, agreed to pay half the expense of the work already incurred, as well as of the future. It now went on without interruption, and was finished according to Mr. MIDDLETON's original agreement with the city, when, on the 29th Sept. 1613, the water was let into the basin now called the New River Ilead, which was prepared for its reception.'

By an exact admeasurement of the course of the New River taken in 1723, it appeared to be nearly thirty-one miles in length; it has between two and three hundred bridges over it, and upwards of forty sluices in its course ; and in divers parts both over and under the same, considerable currents of landwaters, as well as a great number of brooks and rivu. lets, have their passage.

This great undertaking cost half a million of money, and was the ruia of its first projector, some of whose Voz. VI.

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