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most part, either introductory, or supplementary to the reading performed by the class. One object of the lectures. will be to present to his class the last results of historical research. The books studied or consulted by the class are generally far behind the state of historical criticism. The lectures should place the student nearly in the same condition in which he would be if he had before him new and thoroughly revised editions of all the works which he has occasion to consult. This will give freshness and value to the lecturer's instruction. The class will not feel that they might as well read history by themselves at home. Every class-exercise, whether it relate to the lecture, the textbook, or other books, will involve historical criticism, and will foster a taste for it. The student will by degrees learn to estimate the character and weigh the authority of every writer he examines by a standard of his own, which will become more and more perfect as he advances. The lecturer will aim to put a true construction upon history; to enable his class to see it from right points of view, and to judge of men and measures, not according to the prejudiced opinions of authors, nowhere more manifest than in English history, but according to just canons of historical criticism.
The lecturer may choose to be very brief on those topics which are well presented in the manual used, or to omit them altogether, and point out the passages to be read, and require them to be incorporated with the lecture in the recitation of the next day. In this way the teacher will be relieved of much useless labor, and the student will have enough to occupy his attention, whereas lectures alone leave too little for him to do. The objection which might rise in the minds of some, that such a method would produce disorder and confusion in the student's thoughts, is its chief recommendation. The daily practice of analyzing and arranging for one's self the materials of history is one of the best historical exercises which can be required of a student. If everything be studied and arranged for him, his judgment
and invention will lie dormant, and his memory only be exercised. All historical studies, if they are to discipline the student, and to initiate him into his art, must constantly require the exercise of his power of combination and arrangement. In the mental process here proposed, the materials to be arranged are very simple, and will easily find their place, if the omissions are indicated in the lecture at the points where they occur.
Those periods of the early political history of England, which, according to our plan, are abridged on account of their minor relative importance, may still be presented in a less formal way, in many of their details, by means of essays oh interesting collateral topics, such as manners, customs, popular amusements, chivalric adventures, celebrated places, families, domestic life, the lives and characters of distinguished men in church and state, in philosophy, literature, and art. In many instances the biographies of the early queens of England are both more interesting and more instructive than either the biographies or the reigns of the kings. We would instance the empress Matilda, who, being the daughter of one king Henry, and mother of another, besides being widow of a third Henry (the emperor of Germany), acted as regent for her son; also Matilda of Boulogne, consort of Stephen, whose fortunes were so sadly interwoven with those of the empress, her rival; Eleanor of Aquitaine, who brought to her husband Henry II. large possessions in the West of France, and whose public life as queen of France, and then as queen of England, and whose domestic relations are so full of strange adventure; Isabella, consort of Edward II., "the she-wolf of France," who kept England and France busy enough, during her remarkable and most eventful life; the good queen Philippa, wife of Edward III., England's greatest monarch; and Margaret of Anjou, who was the exciting cause of the War of the Roses, and was as badly eminent as her spouse, Henry VI., was weak.
On these and other topics of similar interest, essays might
be assigned to the class, being so distributed that each should have a different subject. On these the students should task themselves severely, summoning all their strength and industry to present, both as it respects research and elaboration, a model essay. One such performance, undertaken and excuted in the right spirit, will have an influence upon the writer's mind that will long be felt. It is often the beginning of a new method of study. It will be needful for the professor to point out particularly the sources of information on each subject, together with the order in which they should be read, and to allow ample time for the preparation, which will, of course, vary with the extent and difficulty of the subject. The reading of these various essays before the class will bring together the information contributed by them severally. If a given number relate to parts of the same general subject, or are in any way nearly related to each other, they might be read in connection, and the subject of them be made the lesson of the class for that day. In this manner, the whole class would be led to take a special interest in the criticisms made upon the several essays.
The object of requiring essays is partly to secure a suitable amount of private reading on the part of the student, and partly to train him to read by subjects, using different authors, rather than to read single authors through in course. When the mind is interested in a subject, that is the time to investigate it. Many questions will arise which can be settled only by resorting to other books. If we read the account given by one writer only, we have no proper means of judging whether he is right or wrong. If we leave the matter to be decided at another time, and proceed to new topics with the author we have in hand, the subject will pass out of our mind, and by the time we come to read on the same subject in another writer, we shall have forgotten so much that we found in the first as to be unable to compare the two accounts and to form any critical judgment of their relative accuracy. Two or more authors can be com
pared best when read in connection with each other. After two or three of the best authorities, on a given subject, have been critically studied, others can be perused rapidly, while the whole subject is fresh in mind; the good and the bad in each are easily separated; what is new can be appropriated, and what is old and familiar passed over; and more be accomplished in a few hours when the mind is heated on the subject, and better done besides, than in as many days at another time. Not only can the whole subject be placed before the mind at once, in all its aspects, so that one part, if need be, may be corrected by another; but the respective merits of all the writers can be seen in a clear light, and a sound critical judgment passed upon them. We would lay special stress upon the observation, that this is the true way to train students to habits of critical investigation. The subject of inquiry may be limited; but the critical spirit, and the enthusiasm awakened by it in susceptible minds will be far-reaching.
In this or in some similar way all collateral, as well as subordinate topics, or any portion of them, might be disposed of by the teacher who does not wish to encumber his lectures with them. It will thus be the office of the instructor to guide and stimulate his class; lay out the work to be performed; perform a part of it himself, namely, the part which the manual or text-book does not, and which the class cannot, perform, and require the class to perform for themselves what they have the means and the power to do. The course of instruction, thus pursued, will not be an easy one, either for the teacher or for the class; but will be inspiring and advantageous to both. Nothing can be more injurious in its effects, as it regards future study, than the dull and plodding way in which, unfortunately, history is sometimes taught. It not only renders the present study of it nearly useless, but, what is far worse, it well nigh destroys the natural taste for it which one may have. Any expedient which shall aid in averting such a calamity from a young man is entitled to consideration.
But we return from this digression to our course in English history. Thus far it has been merely introductory. We shall now dismiss the Middle Ages, and contemplate a class as taking up English history at the end of that period with as much fulness as the time allotted them will allow.
With Henry VII. begins the modern history of England. It is no longer the history of contending factions without any result, but the history of a nation under a settled and consolidated government. The events of his reign, all that is known of them, are easily told. The ordinary manuals give the most important of them. But it is not so easy to form a correct estimate of his policy and of the character of his government. It would not be amiss to seize upon the opportunity offered to give a somewhat elaborate criticism of the two opposite views taken of the subject by different historians; the one class being represented by the Pictorial History of England, the other by Turner's History. The subject is not so extensive as to be beyond the reach of the comprehension of students near the end of their collegiate course. A field of inquiry thus circumscribed, and not very intricate, is most favorable for trying the skill and exercising the judgment of a class in history. The teacher, by presenting the evidence on both sides, may initiate his class by easy gradations into the practice of weighing historical evidence with impartiality. The facts of history are studied with greatest interest, and are best comprehended, when they are examined in connection with some great historical problem. Studying the character of this reign with such an end in view, the more ambitious members of the class would be sure to read Lord Bacon's account of Henry VII.; an admirable work for teaching a student how to form his judgments with nice discrimination.
To present the history of Henry VIII., will test both the powers of the professor and the industry of the student. Still this reign furnishes one of the finest opportunities for studying and practising the historic art. A knowledge of many groups of details, a keen insight into the policy of