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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 89



IV.] OBJECTS OF STUDY. said of any of them is that they prescribe, for the general pursuit of the whole study of History, directions which are valuable in their way in relation to particular portions of it, or for particular purposes for which it may have been undertaken. Instead of reviewing them, then, I shall simply accept them as furnishing suggestions for a brief discussion on points on which it is my privilege to speak, and yours to judge whether what I have to say is worth saying. For I also will claim it as a professorial right to be allowed to utter truisms, and will claim, moreover, as one advantage accruing from our common heritage of error, that, if I utter fallacies, I may have the sympathy of men who know how easy it is, in matters where head and heart are alike engaged, to disparage truth by exaggeration. Although I am not going to venture on any philosophical arrangement of my topics, or to lay down anything pretending to be a complete theory of the method of historical study, I will begin by saying that there are, as it seems to me, and as I doubt not it seems to you, three different sorts of object or aim in reading History : it may be read for its own sake, it may be learned as a mental discipline, and it may be acquired as a piece of the furniture or apparatus of cultivated life. I have used the words advisedly, for they imply, with diversity of object, diversity of method also. In the first aspect History assumes the dignity of a science, in the second it is a great engine of education, in the third it is in its higher forms a graceful and useful accomplishment, in its lower an indispensable requisite for every-day existence in a civilised country. The three aims are not by any means incompatible, and the results are of course coincident so far as they go. He who reads History for its own sake gains the educational result in the process, and possesses in the fullest way the stock of knowledge which enables him to read his newspaper, G 2


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