great as to sink very much their pecuniary reward
It might then not be worth any man's 
while to educate his son to either of those 
professions at his own expense. They would 
be entirely abandoned to such as had been 
educated by those public charities, whose numbers 
and necessities would oblige them in general 
to content themselves with a very miserable 
recompence, to the entire degradation of 
the now respectable professions of law and 
That unprosperous race of men, commonly 
called men of letters, are pretty much in the 
situation which lawyers and physicians probably 
would be in, upon the foregoing supposition
In every part of Europe, the greater 
part of them have been educated for the 
church, but have been hindered by different 
reasons from entering into holy orders. They 
have generally, therefore, been educated at the 
public expense; and their numbers are everywhere 
so great, as commonly to reduce the 
price of their labour to a very paltry recompence
Before the invention of the art of printing
the only employment by which a man of letters 
could make any thing by his talents, was 
that of a public or private teacher, or by communicating 
to other people the curious and 
useful knowledge which he had acquired 
himself; and this is still surely a more honourable
a more useful, and, in general, even 
a more profitable employment than that other 
of writing for a bookseller, to which the art 
of printing has given occasion. The time 
and study, the genius, knowledge, and application 
requisite to qualify an eminent teacher 
of the sciences, are at least equal to what is 
necessary for the greatest practitioners in law 
and physic. But the usual reward of the 
eminent teacher bears no proportion to that of 
the lawyer or physician, because the trade of 
the one is crowded with indigent people, who 
have been brought up to it at the public expense; 
whereas those of the other two are encumbered 
with very few who have not been 
educated at their own. The usual recompence
however, of public and private teachers
small as it may appear, would undoubtedly 
be less than it is, if the competition of 
those yet more indigent men of letters, who 
write for bread, was not taken out of the 
market. Before the invention of the art of 
printing, a scholar and a beggar seem to have 
been terms very nearly synonymous. The 
different governors of the universities, before 
that time, appear to have often granted licences 
to their scholars to beg
In ancient times, before any charities of this 
kind had been established for the education of 
indigent people to the learned professions, the 
rewards of eminent teachers appear to have 
been much more considerable. Isocrates, in 
what is called his discourse against the sophists
reproaches the teachers of his own times 
with inconsistency. "They make the most 
magnificent promises to their scholars," says 
he, "and undertake to teach them to be wise
to be happy, and to be just; and, in return 
for so important a service, they stipulate the 
paltry reward of four or five minæ." "They 
who teach wisdom," continues he, "ought 
certainly to be wise themselves; but if any man 
were to sell such a bargain for such a price
he would be convicted of the most evident 
folly." He certainly does not mean here to 
exaggerate the reward, and we may be assured 
that it was not less than he represents it. 
Four minæ were equal to thirteen pounds six 
shillings and eightpence; five minæ to sixteen 
pounds thirteen shillings and fourpence.—Something 
not less than the largest of those 
two sums, therefore, must at that time have 
been usually paid to the most eminent teachers 
at Athens. Isocrates himself demanded 
ten minæ, or L.33 : 6 : 8 from each scholar
When he taught at Athens, he is said to have 
had a hundred scholars. I understand this 
to be the number whom he taught at one 
time, or who attended what we would call one 
course of lectures; a number which will not 
appear extraordinary from so great a city to so 
famous a teacher, who taught, too, what was 
at that time the most fashionable of all sciences
rhetoric. He must have made, therefore, 
by each course of lectures, a thousand 
minæ, or L.3333 : 6 : 8. A thousand minæ
accordingly, is said by Plutarch, in another 
place, to have been his didactron, or usual 
price of teaching. Many other eminent teachers 
in those times appear to have acquired 
great fortunes. Georgias made a present to 
the temple of Delphi of his own statue in solid 
gold. We must not, I presume, suppose that 
it was as large as the life. His way of living, 
as well as that of Hippias and Protagoras, two 
other eminent teachers of those times, is represented 
by Plato as splendid, even to ostentation
Plato himself is said to have lived 
with a good deal of magnificence. Aristotle
after having been tutor to Alexander, and 
most munificently rewarded, as it is universally 
agreed, both by him and his father
Philip, thought it worth while, notwithstanding
to return to Athens, in order to resume 
the teaching of his school. Teachers of the 
sciences were probably in those times less 
common than they came to be in an age or 
two afterwards, when the competition had 
probably somewhat reduced both the price of 
their labour and the admiration for their persons
The most eminent of them, however, 
appear always to have enjoyed a degree of 
consideration much superior to any of the like 
profession in the present times. The Athenians 
sent Carneades the academic, and Diogenes 
the stoic, upon a solemn embassy to 
Rome; and though their city had then declined 
from its former grandeur, it was still 
an independent and considerable republic.