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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 13



I.] THE PROFESSORS. 7 students, and appreciated at least that true and fundamental canon of composition that the materials for History must be provided before History can be written. From Oxford, or from the studies of Oxford men, proceeded nearly all the great collections of English Historians; and the old school of students was now well represented by Thomas Hearne. But at the time when this professorship was founded this class of men were either withdrawn, like Tanner and Kennett, to other work, or relegated by their own political sympathies and Whig liberality, like Hearne and Baker, to the comparative uselessness of literary retirement. Nor, I think, were the ministers of the crown very careful as to the hands in which they placed the engine of education, from which so much might have been hoped. T o speak with the utmost respect of my early predecessors, I do not find that they were men to whom the study of History, either English or foreign, is in any way indebted, until we come down to Dr. Nares at the beginning of the present century. They probably owed their position to their political connexions or to literary eminence of other kinds. It is no wonder that under the circumstances the place of History among the studies of the University became worse rather than better, or, like that of Moral Philosophy, was lost altogether. Passing on from Dr. Nares, of whom I speak with all gratitude, remembering well, as many of the elders amongst my hearers can doubtless remember likewise, the days when his weighty volumes were almost the only available sources of information for later history : we come to the great name, never to be pronounced without reverence even by his opponents, of the man whose sincerity, energy, and power of training, made him the prime mover of this generation. What Arnold might have done for the study of History in this place, had his time been given to it or been prolonged sufficiently to produce any appreciable effect on it, may be


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