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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 50



44 FREE CHOICE OF SUBJECTS. [II. but not to be invidious, there are other essays which do more or less approach the standard of deep research and sound criticism which I wish to see adopted. I have sometimes thought that it would be a good plan to give a number of alternative theses for such a valuable prize ; but I will con tent myself with a recommendation that, if any new benefactor wishes at once to encourage critical study and reward research, he should establish a prize for which the competitors should choose their own subject, to be approved by the judges a year before the time fixed for sending in the essays. Such an experiment might fairly be tried. There are, I believe, quite sufficient inducements of a local and personal kind, connected with History, which would draw the intelligent student into much more earnest work than any thesis simply imposed as a test of his powers. Local history, family history, the possession of important documents such as may be found in every country house, and almost every parish register or court roll, open ways of access to historical interest of a varied kind, in which the extent of research may be almost unbounded, in which a critical spirit may be trained and disciplined, and the results of which are sure to be valuable, certainly invaluable to the worker himself. Well, I do not wish to see the Lothian essays devoted to points of very minute history, and it is of foreign history that they are, by the injunction of the founder, to treat ; but I think that some latitude in the choice of subjects for prize dissertations might be conveniently adopted, say for college prizes ; and if any college will try the experiment, I will gladly serve as a judge for the purpose. What I have said about the Lothian Prize, its value, and the really important work which, if it were taken up by classmen after they have passed through the Schools, it might be made to insure, will, I hope, have fallen on some ears that will attend to it.


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