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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 77



III.] A GOOD EXAMPLE. parison and connexion with the like remains throughout Europe. Month after month brings me essays and dissertations, as I said before, upon minute points of English law, chronology, even geography and personal history. What does this mean ? Not surely that those scholars are following an erratic fancy in trying to perfect their knowledge of English history, or that they are working without plan or leading idea. I do not indeed suppose that the scholars and students of Gottingen and Vienna are doing as Von Moltke and his agents are said to have done before the war of 1870, collecting plans, and charts, and itineraries, and models of fortresses, and raised maps of provinces, whilst they were training men and officers both at work and play for conquest. I do not believe that they want to take from us anything, not even the pride of knowing more of our own history than they do, or that they want to engross to themselves by conquest the whole domain of historical knowledge. But I am sure that they have a great object—to increase human knowledge in minuteness of accuracy as well as in breadth and firmness of grasp; to perfect the instruments of historic study ; to make, perhaps subordinately and subsidiarily, their exploration of our history throw light on the dark places, the obscure passages, and flickering popular institutions of their own land. I wish that we should do the same, that we could and would so study not merely the works of Waitz, Sohm, Brunner and the Maurers, but the documentary evidence on which those writers have based their conclusions. There is very much both of matter and method to be learned from them. A few months ago a young American professor who called on me told me that he was lecturing in one of the great universities of the United States on constitutional law ; he had been in doubt where to begin, and was in fact lecturing on the capitularies of the Frank emperors.


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