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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 127



SPECIAL LECTURING. v.] 121 subjected to the rough and ready manipulation of men who know nothing about the premisses and care nothing about the logical connexion between them and the conclusions, care nothing about the conclusions except in so far as they are the conclusions of a blue or an orange lecturer; the fact itself seems to me a reductio ad absurdum of historical lecturing. Yet, what is to be done? A little learning is a dangerous thing, but what of total ignorance, what of that ignorance which will not bear to be enlightened unless it is played on by passion or party ? How shall we remedy this ? Here is a question that extends far beyond the scope of my purpose, for it touches the whole great field of popular education; it is an inviting subject, for we are so distinctly at the beginning of our work in this department that a man of my age may safely propound any nostrum, sure that he will not live to see its absolute uselessness proved by an adult generation of historically trained people. Let me just say, before I go on to the next and last point of my subject, that popular lecturing on history can be only one, ay, and only a secondary one, of the implements of historical education, if the people of the next generation are to be qualified to use the power which the men of this generation have placed in their hands. The schools, the national schools as well as the public schools, must be made to begin at the beginning; at present the blind are leading the blind ; God help us, for we are very near the ditch. Lecturing is of little use, if it does not lead men to read for themselves; in many instances it is worse than useless, if it be made a substitute for self-culture. So too with newspaper education ; imagine the state, moral and intellectual, of the man who tries to form his mind by reading the daily journals of England since the beginning of the last Long, Vacation. What value will truth and justice have in the eyes of a man who has read history


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