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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 29



USES OF STUDY. *3 behaviour in social circles, their conversation in social life. The first object of the true politician, as of the true patriot, is to keep himself and his party true, and then to look for success : to keep himself and his party pure, and then to secure victory: to abolish meanness and corruption where he has influence, rather than to make capital by denouncing it where his denunciation can only provoke a retort. The sound politician, on whichever side he may be and however thorough he may be, believes that his scheme of politics is the one in which the benefit of his country is most entirely involved, and he wishes the position of his country to be impregnable ; to be impregnable it must be sound : if his party represents to him his country, his party must be sound, and it concerns him much more closely to purify his own ranks than those of his enemy. Success is certain to the pure and true : success to falsehood and corruption, tyranny and aggression, is only the prelude to a greater and an irremediable fall. If our students go from us with the certainty of this lesson impressed on them, with information to guide and cultivated power enough to form judgment, we, whatever our private convictions may be, may rest assured both that our own duty has been done, and that the best has been done for the world in which they are to act. Politicians, happily, seldom live to see the final outcome of their aspirations ; life is too short to witness a constitutional struggle in all its growth, and, as matters approach the compromise, the minds of the actors modify, or new, more moderate, counsellors see in the process of circumstances grounds for receding somewhat from the rigorous line drawn by the less practical design of their elders. So the world moves on in a line straighter than the rules of either party would have made it ; and it is well that it is so, the education of a political life is long, and the time for active work in it, for the most part, extremely short.


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