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Sources, Bibliography, and Auxiliary Sciences N the preceding chapter, I emphasized the were few; they appeared at long intervals and
fact that to teach history successfully one were incomplete in their treatment of method.
must know how to study history scientific- Each work, however, contributed something, ally. It is then with the subject of Historical and every time the attempt to formulate the Method—the method of studying and not the
rules of historical science was renewed, there method of teaching history-that this and the was a broader base to build upon, as each man following chapters will have to do.
studied the work of his predecessors before doThere has always been more or less method ing his own. in the way in which history has been studied Of the works produced in the sixteenth, and written, but for a long time this method seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, there are was largely unconscious. This is established a few that stand out from among the rest: by the fact that only in our generation has a those of the Frenchman Bodin, “Methodus ad literature of any size, containing treatises upon facilem historiarum cognitionem” (1566); of method of considerable length, come into exist- the German Voss, “Ars historica" (1623); of ence. But one work has come down to us from the Frenchman Mabillon, "De re diplomatica" the Greeks, Lucian's "How Should History be (1681); of the Frenchman Du Fresnoy, “MéWritten," and this treatise deals, for the most thode pour étudier l'histoire” (1713); of the part, with the artistic form of the historical Italian Vico, “Principi della scienza nuova” narrative. Rome and the Middle Ages contrib- (1725). ated practically nothing to method. In fact, In our century, the quantity of the work has the period of the Middle Ages represented a increased and the quality improved. The Gerreaction in historical writing. A new era be- mans were the leaders, and the most important gan with the Renaissance.
works are those of Wachsmuth, "Entwurf einer The awakening of interest in the past, that Theorie der Geschichte" (1820); of Droysen was one of the characteristics of the Renais- “Grundriss der Historik” (1867)-published sance, contributed largely to the development in this country in a translation by Andrews; of historical method. Men must gather ma- Gervinus, “Grundzüge der Historik”, (1837); terial and experiment with it for generations Lorenz “ Die Geschichtswissenschaft” (1886, before the data for a work on method can be 1891); of Dolci, the Italian, “Sintesi di scienza gathered. Now the first modern treatises on storica” (1887); and of the Englishman Freemethod were preceded by many generations of man, “The Methods of Historical Study” practical work; by the publication of great col- (1886). lections of sources, with critical notes and aids · Up to 1889, these were the most important of various kinds. Then appeared the first at- treatises that had appeared on method. They tempt to describe the method by which the dealt with the subject in a summary way-many work was done. But before our day the works of the works being only pamphlets—and often
treated only parts of method instead of the cial environment, and with the philosophy of whole. There was need of a work that should history; (4) Darstellung, or the formulation of gather up these partial results, combine them, the results obtained in the preceding investiand attempt to present them in a systematic gation. and detailed manner. Such a work was pub- The grouping of Langlois and Seignobos is lished by Bernheim in 1889. The title is “Lehr- somewhat simpler. Their work is divided into buch der historischen Methode.” It contains three parts: (1) Les connaissances préalables, six hundred pages and describes in detail all the or preliminary knowledge, equivalent to Bernsteps in the construction of an historical narra- heim's Quellenkunde; (2) Opérations analyttive. The book marks an epoch. For the first iques, embracing criticism, interpretation, and time a real text-book on method had been pro- establishment of the facts; (3) Opérations synduced. In 1897 a more popular work was pub- thétiques, or combination of the facts and conlished in France by Langlois and Seignobos, en- structive reasoning together with the presentatitled, “Introduction aux études historiques.” tion of results. Although the work does not pretend to be an There is one important difference between exhaustive treatise like that of Bernheim, yet the arrangement of Bernheim and that of Langcertain divisions of the subject are dealt with lois and Seignobos; in the first, interpretation in a much more satisfactory manner and really follows the establishment of the fact; in the supplement the work of Bernheim.
last, it precedes it. With that exception, Besides these two hand-books treating of the there is substantial agreement in the arrangewhole subject, many monographs, or partial ment of the two works. studies, have been published, so that the litera- It would be safe to say then, that, whatever ture upon mei hod has become one of quite re- title may be given to the parts, a work on spectable size, and can not be neglected by any method naturally falls into three or four parts; serious student of history.
four, if the narrative, or presentation of the reBut what is the result of all this study by so sults, forms an independent division. many centuries of historians?
A moment's thought will show that all this A conscious operation in the treatment of is nothing more than a careful description of historical material, an understanding of what the procedure of the student of history from has already been accomplished, and a pretty the time that he selects his subject for investifair appreciation of what remains to be done. gation until he commits the results of this inAs yet, the form in which the results are pre- vestigation to paper. It is my intention in this sented has not been fixed by tradition; but there chapter and the following to sketch rapidly is a quite general agreement as to the subject the successive steps in this procedure as they matter and order of arrangement, although are described in the works just referred to. I there is some disagreement as to the nomencla- hope that it may be helpful to teachers that ture to be employed.
have not access to these works or who would be Bernheim, after an introduction dealing with unable to read them. If they would draw the such questions as the definition of history, the greatest benefit from this study, let them folrelation of history to other sciences, and the pos- low the process step by step, investigating sibility of attaining scientific certainty in his- some historical topic in accordance with the torical study, divides his work into four parts: method described. Let them repeat the proc(1) Quellenkunde, treating of bibliography, ess again and again, and careful scientific work source collections, and the auxiliary sciences; will soon become second nature. (2) Kritik, treating of the genuineness of the The rest of this chapter will be devoted to sources, their origin and value, of the estab- what Bernheim calls “Quellenkunde ” and lishment of historical fact, and the arrange- Langlois and Seignobos,
Langlois and Seignobos, “Connaisance Prément of the facts established; (3) Auffassung, alables.” This latter designation is hardly exdealing with the interpretation and grouping act, for although the study of sciences auxiliary of facts, with their physical, psychical, and so- to history is undoubtedly “preliminary knowledge,” the preparation of bibliographies and history to make the acquaintance of the great the formation of source collections are clearly source collections that have been published integral parts of the process itself. Because by governments, associations, and individuals. the student often finds his bibliographies made The contemporary histories of Greece and and his sources collected, it is none the less true Rome have been carefully edited in the original that he often has to make his own bibliography Greek or Latin, and also translated into English. and to collect his own sources.
The Greek and Roman inscriptions have been Sources were defined in the preceding chap- gathered up from every side, carefully restored ter, and Bernheim's classification of them under and published. Hundreds of specialists are enremains and tradition was given. It is clear gaged in making public the Latin sources of that, if there are no sources, no history can be the Middle Ages, and the sources of the later written. If a student is desirous of investi- periods composed in the language of the varigating a subject, he asks himself the questions: ous peoples. Some periods have been thor“ Are there any sources? What are they? oughly worked, while others are still almost Where are they?" If there are no sources, virgin soil. So difficult is much of this work, the subject, however interesting, can not, of so nice and varied the skill required of the course, be investigated. Great masses of worker, that many men do nothing but this: source material are being destroyed in various they simply prepare the sources that others ways every day. On a recent tour of investi- may make use of them. Historical work is begation in France, I learned in two places, at coming every year more differentiated, and to St. Martin, on the Ile de Ré, and at Saintes on make it successful the heartiest co-operation the neighboring mainland, that valuable must exist among the workers. archives, containing sources for which I was The source collections of which I have been seeking, had recently been destroyed by fire. writing are made up of complete documents, It is a common thing in the course of an inves- narratives, etc. There are other source coltigation to run across traces of sources that lections of a more elementary character, comonce existed and perhaps exist to-day, but can posed of short typical documents and of not be found. Often sources are known to be extracts from narrative sources.
These are hidden in private archives, to which access is for the use of beginners. The new method of denied.
history work has called into existence a large But even when the student knows that sources amount of this material. From Harvard Uniexist and where they exist, his work is often versity has come extracts and documents on rendered difficult by the fact that his sources United States History; from the University of are scattered and a use of them would oblige Pennsylvania, “Original Sources of European him to make long journeys. His work will be History;" from the University of Michigan, lightened if a government has acquired all of sources of English History; from the Univerthis material and placed it in a central depot sity of Indiana, sources of European History; It will be lightened even more if this manu- and from the University of Nebraska, sources script material bas been published and he can of European and American History. study it comfortably by his own fireside. But
that there are sources and that While the study of written tradition may thus they are accessible, how does the student learn be made easy, there are certain kinds of source what they are and where they are? It is the material that can be studied only upon the spot. work of bibliography to tell him this. An exact copy of a manuscript may be studied After the subject for investigation has been even more satisfactorily than the manuscript selected, his first step is to seek for a book that itself, but neither photographs of an historical will answer these two questions for him. Such spot, nor descriptions of it, nor both, will do a work is not always to be found. Bibliografor the student what direct observation will do. phy is not in an advanced stage of develop
But whether he can only study at home or ment. The larger number of works upon can also go abroad, it behooves the student of which the student must depend are out of date and others are thoroughly unscientific In word in order to understand how it is used at a many of them, no distinction is made between
particular time. When the student comes to sources and narratives based upon the sources, criticise his sources, and to determine their and, for the most part, when the sources are value, he finds that a knowledge of psycholenumerated there is nothing to indicate their
ogy is necessary; in arranging his facts, he contents nor the value of the contents. The
must make use of chronology; in combining most of this work the advanced student is obliged to do for himself. Historical study is aided by geography, ethnology, economics,
them, of logic; in forming the background, he will be much easier when good bibliographies
and sociology; and in searching for the deeper have been prepared. Although he may have learned what the meanings of historical development, by philos
ophy. These are the most important of the sources are that he needs, the student is often in ignorance of the whereabouts of his sources,
auxiliary sciences. There are, of course, many especially if they consist of rare printed books
others, determined by the peculiar nature of
the subject investigated. or manuscripts. Here bibliography might help him, but it seldom does. The large and
It would appear, then, that historical inveswealthy libraries ought to have the books and
tigation is neither easy nor simple. And why certain archives should contain the manuscripts.
should it be? It has to do with the most difBut books and manuscripts are not always
ficult and complex of subjects—the evolution of where they should be, and even when they are
man in society. We are just coming to a realthey are very often not caialogued.
ization of the magnitude of the task to be Yet however incomplete these bibliographi- accomplished in correctly tracing this evolucal aids are, they are all we have and are im
tion, and of the only way in which it may be proving rapidly each day. The student that
The student that accomplished. The uninitiated are accustomed does not know how to make use of them will
to sneer at the specialist in history who confind himself badly handicapped. A most help
fines himself to a limited field and works it ful little book upon historical bibliography thoroughly. But it is the sneer of ignorance. was recently published in Paris. The author
He takes such specialization in the natural is Langlois and the title “Manuel de biblio
sciences as a matter of course. He must learn graphie historique."
that the same reasons make specialization imWhen the student, through the use of bibli
perative in historical sciences. Without speography, has succeeded in reaching the sources,
cialization, we can not advance. he finds that his work can not go on without
Special study and comprehensive views of the use of one or more auxiliary sciences. It history are not irreconcilable things. Every may be a manuscript that he has before him, scientific investigator will not only know first and it may be incumbent upon him to deter- hand the results obtained in his own part of the mine its genuineness before using it. The per
field, but he will know second hand the results formance of such a task would call for a knowl- obtained in other parts of the field. Specialiedge of palaeography, or the science of writing zation can be dangerous only when the specialof diplomatics, or the science of documents, and ist fails to keep in touch with the greater perhaps several others. If it is known that whole of which his work is only a part. the document is genuine, the student must at If the student, supplied with the necessary least have a knowledge of the language in knowledge of the auxiliary sciences, has been which it is written in order to interpret it. able, through the aid of bibliography, to find For some periods, such a knowledge is not easy the sources that he seeks, his next step will be to acquire. The investigator in the fields of to decide how much of these sources can be adGrecian, Roman, or Mediaeval History must mitted as evidence on the subject under inveshave a knowledge of philology, or the science of tigation. To settle that question is the province language. He must be acquainted with all the of Criticism or Kritik. changes that take place in the meaning of a
F. M. FLING.
European History Studies
FRED MORROW FLING. Ph.D., Editor
describe the Germans but only to lay it over 'se on the Situation, Manners, and the backs of the Romans, the tendency would armany. In Vol. II. of the works be for him not only to paint the Germans in a Oxford Translation, revised.
too favorable light, but even to idealize them 1- of information concern- beyond recognition. Certain French political Tips of Tacitus are references philosophers of the last century idealized our is in his own works and in the Indians until they became models of sweetness
- friend, the younger Pliny. These and light. That the Germania contains much rum, however, with by no means all the satire the student will soon convince himself,
mation we could desire. He was born and will be on his guard accordingly. But mut A.D. 54, and died some time after A.D. is this the main purpose of the work, or is it 117. We infer from his early and rapid polit- an incident? Has Tacitus only praise to beical advancement and from his marriage with stow upon the Germans? Does he fail to paint the daughter of Agricola, that he was of good their squalor and vices as vividly as he paints family. He filled, among others, the distin- their virtues? If so, his description must be guished offices of praetor and consul. In the exceedingly treacherous material for the hisyears 89-93 he was absent from Rome, and it torian. has been surmised that he spent the time in If the student satisfies himself that in the Germany; but this can not be proved. On the main Tacitus was a very well-informed and contrary, the best authorities are inclined to the conscientious writer, whose object, in spite of view that he never visited that country. his constant side-thrusts at the corruptions of
How then did he get his information for the Rome, was to portray the Germans as he saw Germania? It is clear that his prominence in them, he will be confronted with the further public life would enable him to obtain all the problem, how to bridge over the gulf between information which Rome could offer, accounts the Germans as they existed in the mind of of returning soldiers and travelers, descrip- Tacitus and the Germans as they were in reality. tions by Germans visiting Rome, and the like. It would be very surprising indeed if Tacitus But there was another source of information, made no mistakes; and, in fact, investigators which was probably his chief one. There ex- have no difficulty in convicting him of inacisted at his time a considerable Roman litera- curacies in detail. How may the student detect ture on the early Germans, of which, with the these inaccuracies? How may he sift the true exception of Tacitus, Caesar, and Paterculus, from the false? This process is so difficult in nothing of very great importance remains the case of the Germania that the beginner had This literature Tacitus must have known and better not attempt it. He had better treat this used, so that the Germania presents a summary not as an exercise in the Determination of the of all that centuries of warfare had taught the Fact, but chiefly as an exercise in InterpretaRomans about their northern neighbors. tion. His subject will be the early Teutons as
There have been a number of theories advanced described by Tacitus. Whether the description as to the purpose of Tacitus in writing the Ger- corresponds in every case to the facts is mania. One of these is to the effect that the another problem of historical investigation. work was intended to be nothing more nor less The interpretation of the Germania offers than an elaborate satire on the corrupt condi- great difficulties. On account of certain defects tion of Rome. The student should bear this of style, viz., extreme condensation and fretheory in mind in his examination of the work, quent obscurities, many of its passages are and should try to come to a definite conclusion down-right riddles. One must, of course, use concerning it. For if Tacitus intended not to the original Latin in cases where it is necessary