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MAN THE SUBJECT OF EDUCATION.             51
patron of learning. In the darkest periods of history, kings have sought to fortify their thrones by collecting men of learning around them, and by establishing colleges and universities, founded on such principles, however, as to ren­der them little more than engines of state. And while a pretended love of learning has been thus displayed; while the light of knowledge has been kindled in the college, and has shed its influence on a select number, the people at large have been sedulously kept in the darkness and the gloom of ignorance.
But the crowned despots of the Eastern Hemi­sphere have not furnished the only barriers to the progress of general education. Priestcraft, in almost every age, has sought to sway man­kind, by keeping them in ignorance, or, what is worse, by subjecting them to the influence of superstitious fiction. There have been politi­cians, too, who, in their eagerness for power, have maintained the doctrine that the mass of mankind were happier if left in a state of igno­rance. But it will be perceived that in all these cases, the power of education, in the form­ation of human character, is fully admitted and understood. The despot fears instruction, for it would teach the people their rights, and give them strength to overturn his dominion. The
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