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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 280



IDEAS OF 1880. 374 misconception of idea, but which had the sole merit of teaching the generation of soldiers to fight and of diplomatists to conjure ; after the Crimean War we get, first, the reconstruction of Italy on the principles of nationality and with a free constitution; then the reconstruction of Germany, then the reconstruction of Austria ; of Germany on a principle of nationality and self-government which has yet to find a balance for the preponderance of force, and in Austria on a principle of nationality and self-government that has yet to determine its relations to the older rules of legality on which historically the unity of Austria depends. And within the last two years the world has been kept alive by the struggle for nationality and freedom, between Russian force and Turkish tyranny. Out of the crucible, out of the fiery furnace, against the will of the potent actors, as if by a law that may not be broken, the victory of the idea is rapidly being realised. There are, of course, other ideas, counter ideas, ideas which are only the old legality and the old material force disguised under new names. Such ideas may be Pansclavism, or Internationalism, or Nihilism, if it be anything but a negation of ideas. Such ideas may be that of Russia at Constantinople, of a restored Poland, of a free church in a free state, of universal voluntaryism, of scientific frontiers. I am not here to justify or to condemn, much less to prophesy; and whatever it is that is coming, I am sure we are only at the beginning of it. At present Russia stands before the world, really as representing force, in pretension,—pretension which I am far from believing to be insincere,—as the liberator of the Christian races of the East. Austria is far the most conspicuous defender of historic territorial right ; and all those who are not afraid of the nickname of reactionists will be slow to condemn her for the maintenance of a principle on which she has grown into power, and which she is doing her


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