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his relations to God and the universe. The sopher Bolingbroke; its moralist, Addison; Reformation, the Puritan awakening, the its minstrel, Pope; its preacher, Atterbury. Whitfield and Wesley revival, are each so The student, therefore, in the study of inwoven with the history of Britain, that any period or epoch of history, must discern without an estimate of them no true idea the relation of history to other branches of can be obtained of the national life.
| knowledge, that he may be able to judge And then, too, there is the poetry of the how far the historians of the periods he period to be studied, in its connection with investigates have represented the life of the developinent of intelligence, as it gives humanity, in tracing the influences of philoutterance to the sentiments of the period on sopby, religion, art, and science, on the nature and man. There is no period of his national life. toric importance without its poetry. The From this study of the history of nations or thoughts, the emotions, the desires, and the epochs, what are the advantages to be derived? hopes of the people, find a medium of expres- I. The mind is disciplined. As the faculsion through the poet. The “ Divina Com- ties which we call attention, memory, imagimedia,” of the wondrous Dante, opens Euro- nation, will, judgment, and reflection, are pean literature, represents the theology of only conventional forms of speech, it can the age, and gives expression to the yearp- only be said that we attend, remember, ings of the Italian people for freedom from imagine, will, judge, or reflect; therefore the the spiritual tyranny of Rome; the prologue use of these terms only expresses the operato the “Canterbury Tales” of Chaucer con- tions of the mind. As exercised in the tains a description of a large company of study of history, they aid the discipline of guests,-priests, scholars, ladies, physicians, the mind. The act of the mind most exer—wko were seated at the table of the cised in this study is judgment—that faculTabard Inn, in Southwark, and who, doubt-ty by which we compare mental and mateless, were taken from life by the poet; rial objects, in order to ascertain their relaDryden exhibited the feelings and reason- tions, determine their use, and ascertain ings of the king and his courtiers on the truth. Our knowledge of historical facts grave subjects of national policy, and in his is derived from testimony. And in this “ Absalom and Achitophell” vividly pour- species of evidence we have to considertrayed the history and characters of the “I. Where the historian relates what he time; and so through other periods of his has himself seer. This is pure testimony, tory, the poetry of the epoch must be and must be judged of accordingly. studied, as the reflection of the thoughts, “ II. Where the historian relates contememotions, and wants of the people.
poraneous events upon the testimony of Nor are the arts and sciences of the others. The character of the witnesses period to be overlooked, for they likewise must be tested, whether they have all the influence the progress of the people. The qualities of a perfect moral being. Further, power of the age on great men, and the we must take into account-1. The preinfluence of great men on the age, must also judices and antipathies of country, party, be observed, as they sum up nations and and sect. 2. The philosophical ability of epochs. “Give me,” says Cousin, “the the historian to investigate, compare, and series of great men, all the great men known, deduce. 3. The time and attention bestowed and I will produce for you the known his- on the work. tory of the human race.” This can only “III. Where the historian depends for be done by the study of the thoughts and his information upon the writings of others, actions of those men, in their connection and upon national monuments, records, and with the development of human intelligence. antiquities. Here the most various and The history of the Crusades must be first lofty qualifications are requisite. 1. Al studied in the life of Peter the Hermit; and the qualities of a true witness. 2. Various the Reformation cannot be estimated without and profound erudition, viz., a knowledge of a knowledge of the life of Lather. Each languages, of science, of arts, of government, age has its representative men. The cen- skill in antiquarian researches, and, abore tury of religious indifference, which opened all, original, comprehensive, and penetrative with Queen Anne's reign, had for its philo-genius as a philosopher. 3. Adequate ma
terials. A history is entitled to belief in minds of their heroes. By so doing, the proportion as these particulars appear in its judgment is exercised, in comparing differcompilation."*
ences of opinion, weighing conflicting eviThese tests, exercised in historical in-dence, so as to obtain a just opinion of the vestigations, discipline the judgment, in character and worth of the person. But valuing the character and accomplishments before the mind will be equipped for such of historians, and deducing conclusions from an exercise, a knowledge of the errors to opposite testimonies; for the accuracy of which the judgment is liable will be indisour reasoning depends on our judgments, pensable. Lord Bacon informs us of the and our judgments depend on the accuracy " idols of the intellect,” or those sources of of our comparisons, and our comparisons on error to which the mind is liable. Erroneous the truth of our evidence.
judgments are denominated prejudices; they The difference between historical and phi- obscure our knowledge, and produce doubt losophical reasoning is, that the former in the mind instead of certainty. National examines particulars, so as to form a full partizanship, difference of religious belief, induction, whereas the latter consists in superior ability, influence the judgment, and tracing generals. As testimony is the often prevent the expression of an honest medium through which actual truths are opinion. The Greeks considered the Persians converted into historical, the same certainty barbarians. The Romans, in like manner, of truth is not obtained as that derived regarded with contempt the military chafrom the axioms of mathematics; so that racter of the Carthaginians and Macedonians. where there seems likely to be least certain Modern nations are more liberal in their ty, there the judgment is better exercised. opinions of other countries, yet it is difficult
The study of the different estimates of to find that catholicity of spirit which diseminent historical persons, by distinguished dains local relations, and awards the palm authors, is of great use to the student of to superior excellence. And then, too, relihistory, as they exhibit the prejudices to gious belief appears to have much influenced which writers of history and biography are the judgment of our historians: Voltaire liable, and enforce the necessity of acquiring a regarded religion as the enslaver of humanity, knowledge of the causes which bias the judg- and believed that the first step in the emanment. Take, for example, the different esti- cipation of the human mind would be to mates of the character of Oliver Cromwell, two banish its priests, and destroy its temples; of which we select-Southey's and Carlyle's. Gibbon viewed religion through the preThe former thinks that Cromwell was both judices of his education, and read the story a fanatic and a political and religious hypo- of the Roman empire aright, save in respect crite, and that the death of Charles destroyed to Christianity; Lingard's Roman Catholic his happiness; the opinion of the latter is, prejudices and antipathies are frequently on the contrary, that he was neither a traitor manifested in his “ History of England;" against Charles, nor an enemy of civil or Hume was essentially a sceptic, and wrote religious liberty. Sincerity and integrity libels oftener than fair estimates of Britain's are the characteristics of the Oliver Crom-worthies. But historians have all their prewell of Carlyle; fanaticism and hypocrisy judices, like Dr. Johnson, who, when reportthose of Southey. The biographies of Luther ing the debates, said," he always took care by Michelet and D’Aubigné, in like manner, to give the Whig dogs the worst of it." show how different a portrait may be drawn it will be plain, then, that if there is any of the same man. Besides, too, in this one study more than another which requires study of the estimates of historical persons, a calm, deliberative judgment, it is hisit is needful to investigate the sources of storical investigation, and also that no kind the biographers' knowledge, and observe of study is so titted to produce such. Morewhether they have traced the influences of over, in this discipline of the mind, the habit rank, education, companions, and events, in of attention, on which memory so much moulding the character and developing the depends for accuracy, is acquired; and the
exercise of memory necessitates the forma: * Tappan's “ Logic," book iv., sect. 5, pp. 424,
194 lion of habits of classification and arrange426, 427.
I ment, to facilitate the retention of ideas, and aid in the use of that knowledge acquired | liberties are the victims of tyranny; but from previous research.
the nations which possess this knowledge Thus a rigid attention, a good memory, resist encroachments on their rights and and an unprejudiced judgment, aid the stu- liberties. History records the struggles of dent in thinking,—the object of all mental nations for their civil and religious rights, discipline, and the highest privilege which and the means by which they have been man possesses. The word “thinker" is so obtained or resisted. The student is thereindiscriminately used, that it is difficult to fore led to inquire into the functions and know what that word means; but without powers of governments, the origin of laws, attempting a definition, we do not hesitate the administration of justice, the divine to say that the true student of history must right of kings, the protection of property, needs be a thinker, though he may not receive the representation of the people, the influence that appellation.
of knowledge, and the power of religion, The love of investigation after truth is that he may observe their effects on the one of the best aids to accurate thought. condition of the people. . The desire that our judgments may be based Nations must either cease to exist, or on just comparisons, and our opinions be the advance from wrong to right. The proresult of thought, produces an excitement gress, in some measure, depends on the not easily chilled by difficulties, and which intelligence of the people. There is a conwill not rest till certainty is attained. tinual struggle between the government and “Did the Almighty," says Lessing, “ hold- public opinion, as there are laws to be modiing in his right hand. Truth,' and in his left fied, or grievances redressed; and as long as ' Search after truth,' deign to proffer me the the proceedings of parliament occupy the one I might prefer; in all humility, but with attention of the people, an effectual control but hesitation, I should request Search is exerted over them. The progress of the after truth.” The search after truth is the British nation from serfdom to freedom must consequent of the love of truth, and thought therefore be studied in all its phases, to requires both.
acquire a knowledge of the power used in II. We derive from the study of history a this advancement. The possession of this knowledge of our political rights.
knowledge will prove of great advantage, The different classes of society are so in demonstrating the impotency of physical arranged, that there is a mutual dependence force, and the superiority of moral power, in between each class. The rich cannot do obtaining the possession of deprived rights without the poor, as the master cannot do or curtailed liberties. Had the laws of this without the servant. The relations of this progression been better understood by our dependence are better understood now than working classes in the earlier part of this they ever were. Social distinctions imply so- century, they would not have borne with the cial relations; and the sympathy which re- demagogues who fooled them, while preachsults from a knowledge of these relations binds ing liberty. Ignorant of the conditions of society together. Christianity teaches the progress, failure was inevitable. The rights truth that all men are equal, yet recognizes of man are divided into two classes-natural the duties of the different positions of society. and civil. Natural liberty is that freedom That there are anomalies in our social rela- which man possesses independent of the tions will not be denied; yet no truth is state; civil liberty is action in accordance more immutable than this, that in God's with the laws of the nation to which he sight all are equal, and from of old such has belongs. The happiness of a nation depends, been recognized as Heaven's law. Its in in a great degree, on its civil liberty; and fluence, too, has it not been exhibited in the history teaches us that freedom is the result history of nations in strange, significant of knowledge; ignorance is the stronghold of ways? The study of this progress necessi- / despotism. tates the acquirement of a knowledge of the | The social relations which subsist between principles of political science, and the obser- man and society enables the student to vation of their manifestations in history, disseminate the knowledge he has acquired which has been termed the “school of poli- from the study of history, and enforce the tics.” A people ignorant of their rights and duty of the examination of its teachings as
the surest guide to the proper use of the yet still believed that “the earth moves.” rights and liberties which the people possess. Descartes was termed an atheist for saying The object of governments being to promote that there are innate ideas, Locke for denythe happiness of nations, laws and institu- ing them. Intolerance proceeds on the error tions are originated to promote that object; that belief, doubt, and disbelief, are volunand as knowledge is disseminated, the laws tary acts, involving moral merit and demerit; are rescinded or improved to suit the pro- but these acts are involuntary, and are there gress of the nation. Reforms are the result fore guiltless states of the mind. The of the intelligence of the people, as exem- understanding must be convinced before plified in the Reform Bill, the abolition of belief is produced in the mind. The only the corn laws, and the emancipation of the legitimate method of action, where so great slaves.
differences of religious and political opinions III. We learn from the study of history prevail, is freedom of discussion. The pretoleration of opinion. “Every species of valence of truth augments a nation's happiintolerance," says Paley, “which enjoins ness, and free discussion promotes truth, suppression and silence, and every species of for it induces habits of investigation, and persecution which enforces such injunctions, the study of opposite opinions. The ultiis adverse to the progress of truth.” The mate triumph of truth is proved from the most intolerant are invariably the receivers experience of history. We therefore observe of opinions at second-hand; not being truth- the folly of persecution, and the true method seekers themselves, they cannot tolerate the of action in promoting truth, and learn to opinions of those who are so, and by acting tolerate the opinions of others, in the spirit thus, violate their moral nature, and bring of Coleridge's remark, “ As far as opinions disgrace on the cause of truth. Action and not motives, principles and not men, are against the laws of our nature produces evil concerned, I neither am tolerant, nor wish results. Intolerance, however, is not con- to be regarded as such." fined to the ignorant, for at the Reformation The reign of intolerance, however, is not both Roman Catholics and Protestants in- yet ended. There are still in existence Alicted punishments, as far as they had various kinds of persecution, used by the power and opportunity, upon those who narrow-minded against those who differ from called in question their creed. This perse- the general opinion. This cannot be woncution proceeds from the natural love of rule dered at, as the individual who chimes in common to the human mind, and exists with the popular opinion is lauded, while among all nations, all parties, and all sects. the man who earnestly investigates a subject, History in every period, from Socrates to and arrives at different conclusions, is treated Cardinal Wiseman, exhibits its evils. The with contempt. The experience of history duty of toleration is based on the scripture teaches the lesson that freedom of conscience axiom, that we are to do unto others as we is the birthright of man; that persecution would wish others to do unto us.
for opinions is intolerance; that intolerance A state may adopt a religion to promote retards the progress of truth; and that the the happiness of the commonwealth, but it progress of truth is promoted by toleration has no authority to coerce any individual of opinion, united with freedom of discussion. whose understanding is not convinced of its “ Toleration,” says Leighton, “ is an herb of truth, nor any power to introduce laws spontaneous growth in the soil of indifferfor burning heretics, as was done in the ence; but the weed has none of the virtues reign of Henry the Fourth, for suppressing of the medicinal plant reared by humility in the followers of Wickliffe, which spirit of the garden of zeal.” persecution prevailed during successive IV. The knowledge of history is an inreigns.
valuable aid in travel. The application of Intolerance is the most intolerable of all science to modes of conveyance has opened things, for persecution can never alter up a new source of enjoyment to the people opinion. A man subjected to torture may of Britain, by the facility and cheapness of recant by word of mouth, and still retain travel. Other nations may surpass us in his former beliefs. Galileo was imprisoned the lone grandeur of the ruins of ancient for the truth he discovered and announced, cities; but in associations connected with
great events and persons our country is un- | fossils of history,—the coins, the raiment, surpassed. It is natural to suppose that the sculpture, the furniture and the weapons places of historical interest will be visited, of war, preserved in our museums,—disbut then the enjoyment of these visits will covers knowledge of the manners, dress, arts, just be in proportion to the knowledge which and kings, illustrative of the history of man. the visitors possess. The knowledge of What vast interest, then, have places where history in this aspect is of great advantage, remarkable events happened, or men of either collectively or to individuals.
genius resided, to the student of history. What the various rock formations are to The streets of cities, and the solitary moor; the geologist, are remarkable places to the the palaces of kings, and the dwellings of student of history. And as the past history the humble; the ancient college, and the of the earth can only be known by the study hall of justice; the venerable portrait, and of its materials, so the remarkable events, the monument of stone; the ruined abbey, which have taken place in connection with and the fortified castle, recall the past, and the history of nations, can only be under- lead to the examination of their historical stood and appreciated by personal examina- associations. The transactions of to-day tion. The events recorded on the historian's will be history to-morrow. The monument page are rendered more intelligible by a erected to a warrior in 1855 will lead the visit to the places where they happened. thoughtful observer of a succeeding century The fields of Marston-moor or Bannockburn to examine the life of the man whose memory have a nobler interest to the student from that monument perpetuates, as the paintings their historical associations as the former of Raphael, Murillo, and Claude, lead to the recalls the defeat of Prince Rupert and the study of the schools of art. royalists by Cromwell, as the latter reminds V. History, too, may be regarded as the him of the defeat of Edward by Bruce. world's gallery of great men, for, as Thomas When we visit places of historic interest, we Carlyle remarks,“ Universal history is at seem to be contemporaries of the events then bottom the history of the great men who transacted. We are transported 941 years have worked here.” All nations, whether back, to the field of Bannockburn. We can ancient or modern, have had their great almost fancy that we are present on that men; and whatever period of time is studied, eventful morning. We behold the armies they will form one, if not the main, topic of drawn up in battle array, and advancing to attraction. All kinds of character will be conflict. We hear the din of blows, the exhibited—the serious, the odd, the learned, ciang of arms, the shouting and the war-cries; the humorous, the benevolent, the sad; the we see the blood-stained banners streaming | priest, the poet, the warrior, the philosopher, in the wind; the ground covered with broken the statesman, the king; and will form grave lances and helmets and wounded soldiers; subjects of study of the manifold phases of and listen to the moans of the dying. The human life. Humanity will be represented eye quivers as it watches the conflict, and in its varied guises, and under different insees the disjointed squadrons quit the field, fluences, having more or less attraction as and the unrelenting mercy with which the the sympathies are excited. The lessons of fugitives are pursued.
wisdom taught will vary with the sympathies Or we visit the abbey of Holyrood, look of the student. The patriot's patriotism on its roofless walls, walk with awe over its will be intensified by the lives of Wallace dust of centuries, examine the inscriptions and Tell; the warrior's enthusiasm excited of its tombs, and think of the changes of by the memoirs of Cæsar and Wellington; changeless time. As we pass the moulder- the poet's love purified by the study of ing gateway of the ancient fortress, we recall Dante and Shakspere. There will be studies the days of pomp and chivalry, when helmed of character for the most varied tastes in knights and belted squires rode forth to this great gallery of men and women. There fight for love, or die in the mad game of will also be a distinction drawn between the war.
“world's heroes and God's heroes "—the As the geologist reads a lesson in each “cloud of witnesses” for truth, the martyrs, discovered fossil of the past condition of the and the sumless multitude of evil workers. earth, so the student, in the study of the They will suggest thoughts, sad and solemn,