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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 139



RECOIL FROM MEDIEVALISM. *33 startled by the remark, which occurred in a review of Mr. Kitchin's History of France in the Athetuzum, to the effect that all study of the early periods was thrown away, and that the true interest of history begins only where that history has begun to be illustrated by the genius of Mr. Carlyle. But I was scarcely prepared for the recommendation of my friend Professor Pearson, in his recent report on the subject of education to the government of Victoria, that the teaching of history in the Australian High Schools should begin with the year 1700. And why ? because the ages that precede are so entirely unlike our own ; there were no railways, no large manufacturing towns, no newspapers to speak of, no such relations as now exist between Lords and Commons, no property tax, no taxation by excise, and a good deal of living religion, which religion exercised over the daily lives and political views of men an influence that is scarcely comprehensible at the present day. Such a theory, it seems to me, would go a long way towards dispensing with education altogether ; but the expression of such a theory, if it be the result of anything else than a clever man's crotchets, is a mark of a reaction ; and such a reaction as is even painful to one "who has spent the best years of his life in attempting to connect the several stages of his country's life and growth ; who believes that the age of railways, and excise and newspapers, would never have been had it not been for the free institutions and high ambitions that were nursed through the preceding ages, and that the present condition of the strength of the world is the direct and continuous result of historical growth and historical training. It is no wonder, I say, that to me, and those who have pursued the same line of study, this tendency should seem very much to be deprecated. I do not for a moment suppose that it is dangerous ; all experience, all belief in progress


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