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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 40



LIMITS OF WORK. [II. beyond the Thirty Years' War I have not gone. I may add that there were two reasons for this ; one, because I found the later history already in very good hands, a favourite subject with my colleague the Chichele Professor, and very well represented by the College Lecturers on History; the other, that my own separate line of study and work lay in the earlier portion mainly, and it would have been somewhat distracting to be treating widely distant periods of history at the same time. A third reason, I am free to confess, was that I had some misgivings as to the usefulness of the later period as a topic of historical education, until the foundation of the earlier knowledge had been well and strongly laid. I have often questioned whether it were indeed desireable to exercise the minds of young men, old enough to have strong political feelings, not old enough to exert a calm historical judgment, on periods of history teeming with the very same influences as those which are at work at this moment ; at least before they had had an adequate training in the earlier history and were able to account for the origin and trace the earlier \vorkings of those influences, so as to be able at least to accord an equitable sufferance to those who take a view contrary to their own. My apprehensions have not been shared by other teachers here, and it is well that no misgivings of mine should have acted so as to leave the treatment of modern history in this respect inadequate. I do not decide the matter, but simply state my own reason for holding back. And this leads me to recur to the other principle upon which I proposed to act, and which struck the imagination of my reviewer as illusory or useless. My idea was and is, that, as mankind is roughly divided between the advocates of order and the advocates of change, and as both classes contain about an equal number of good, bad, and indifferent, of the wise, of the sensible and of the stupid, it was a function of the


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