E-text prepared by Geoffrey Cowling
LECTURES ON MODERN HISTORY
LORD ACTON (JOHN EMERICH EDWARD DALBERG-ACTON)
ON THE STUDY OF HISTORY
Delivered at Cambridge, June 1895
FELLOW STUDENTS—I look back today to a time before the middle of the century, when I was reading at Edinburgh and fervently wishing to come to this University. At three colleges I applied for admission, and, as things then were, I was refused by all. Here, from the first, I vainly fixed my hopes, and here, in a happier hour, after five-and-forty years, they are at last fulfilled.
I desire, first, to speak to you of that which I may reasonably call the Unity of Modern History, as an easy approach to questions necessary to be met on the threshold by any one occupying this place, which my predecessor has made so formidable to me by the reflected lustre of his name.
You have often heard it said that Modern History is a subject to which neither beginning nor end can be assigned. No beginning, because the dense web of the fortunes of man is woven without a void; because, in society as in nature, the structure is continuous, and we can trace things back uninterruptedly, until we dimly descry the Declaration of Independence in the forests of Germany. No end, because, on the same principle, history made and history making are scientifically inseparable and separately unmeaning.
"Politics," said Sir John Seeley, "are vulgar when they are not liberalised by history, and history fades into mere literature when it loses sight of its relation to practical politics." Everybody perceives the sense in which this is true. For the science of politics is the one science that is deposited by the stream of history, like grains of gold in the sand of a river; and the knowledge of the past, the record of truths revealed by experience, is eminently practical, as an instrument of action and a power that goes to the making of the future #1. In France, such is the weight attached to the study of our own time, that there is an appointed course of contemporary history, with appropriate text-books #2. That is a chair which, in the progressive division of labour by which both science and government prosper #3, may some day be founded in this country. Meantime, we do well to acknowledge the points at which the two epochs diverge. For the contemporary differs from the modern in this, that many of its facts cannot by us be definitely ascertained. The living do not give up their secrets with the candour of the dead; one key is always excepted, and a generation passes before we can ensure accuracy. Common report and outward seeming are bad copies of the reality, as the initiated know it. Even of a thing so memorable as the war of 1870, the true cause is still obscure; much that we believed has been scattered to the winds in the last six months, and further revelations by important witnesses are about to appear. The use of history turns far more on certainty than on abundance of acquired information.
Beyond the question of certainty is the question of detachment. The process by which principles are discovered and appropriated is other than that by which, in practice, they are applied; and our most sacred and disinterested convictions ought to take shape in the tranquil regions of the air, above the tumult and the tempest of active life #4. For a man is justly despised who has one opinion in history and another in politics, one for abroad and another at home, one for opposition and another for office. History compels us to fasten on abiding issues, and rescues us from the temporary and transient. Politics and history are interwoven, but are not commensurate. Ours is a domain that reaches farther than affairs of state, and is not subject to the jurisdiction of governments. It is our function to keep in view and to command the movement of ideas, which are not the effect but the cause of public events #5; and even to allow some priority to ecclesiastical history over civil, since, by reason of the graver issues concerned, and the vital consequences of error, it opened the way in research, and was the first to be treated by close reasoners and scholars of the higher rank #6.
In the same manner, there is wisdom and depth in the philosophy which always considers the origin and the germ, and glories in history as one consistent epic #7. Yet every student ought to know that mastery is acquired by resolved limitation. And confusion ensues from the theory of Montesquieu and of his school, who, adapting the same term to things unlike, insist that freedom is the primitive condition of the race from which we are sprung #8. If we are to account mind not matter, ideas not force, the spiritual property that gives dignity and grace and intellectual value to history, and its action on the ascending life of man, then we shall not be prone to explain the universal by the national, and civilisation by custom #9. A speech of Antigone, a single sentence of Socrates, a few lines that were inscribed on an Indian rock before the Second Punic War, the footsteps of a silent yet prophetic people who dwelt by the Dead Sea, and perished in the fall of Jerusalem, come nearer to our lives than the ancestral wisdom of barbarians who fed their swine on the Hercynian acorns.
For our present purpose, then, I describe as Modern History that which begins four hundred years ago, which is marked off by an evident and intelligible line from the time immediately preceding, and displays in its course specific and distinctive characteristics of its own #10. The modern age did not proceed from the medieval by normal succession, with outward tokens of legitimate descent. Unheralded, it founded a new order of things, under a law of innovation, sapping the ancient reign of continuity. In those days Columbus subverted the notions of the world, and reversed the conditions of production, wealth, and power; in those days Machiavelli released government from the restraint of law; Erasmus diverted the current of ancient learning from profane into Christian channels; Luther broke the chain of authority and tradition at the strongest link; and Copernicus erected an invincible power that set for ever the mark of progress upon the time that was to come. There is the same unbound originality and disregard for inherited sanctions in the rare philosophers as in the discovery of Divine Right, and the intruding Imperialism of Rome. The like effects are visible everywhere, and one generation beheld them all. It was an awakening of new life; the world revolved in a different orbit, determined by influences unknown before. After many ages persuaded of the headlong decline and impending dissolution of society #11, and governed by usage and the will of masters who were in their graves, the sixteenth century went forth armed for untried experience, and ready to watch with hopefulness a prospect of incalculable change.
That forward movement divides it broadly from the older world; and the unity of the new is manifest in the universal spirit of investigation and discovery which did not cease to operate, and withstood the recurring efforts of reaction, until, by the advent of the reign of general ideas which we call the Revolution, it at length prevailed #12. This successive deliverance and gradual passage, for good and evil, from subordination to independence is a phenomenon of primary import to us, because historical science has been one of its instruments #13. If the Past has been an obstacle and a burden, knowledge of the Past is the safest and the surest emancipation. And the earnest search for it is one of the signs that distinguish the four centuries of which I speak from those that went before. The Middle Ages, which possessed good writers of contemporary narrative, were careless and impatient of older fact. They became content to be deceived, to live in a twilight of fiction, under clouds of false witness, inventing according to convenience, and glad to welcome the forger and the cheat #14. As time went on, the atmosphere of accredited mendacity thickened, until, in the Renaissance, the art of exposing falsehood dawned upon keen Italian minds. It was then that History as we understand it began to be understood, and the illustrious dynasty of scholars arose to whom we still look both for method and material. Unlike the dreaming prehistoric world, ours knows the need and the duty to make itself master of the earlier times, and to forfeit nothing of their wisdom or their warnings #15, and has devoted its best energy and treasure to the sovereign purpose of detecting error and vindicating entrusted truth #16.
In this epoch of full-grown history men have not acquiesced in the given conditions of their lives. Taking little for granted they have sought to know the ground they stand on, and the road they travel, and the reason why. Over them, therefore, the historian has obtained an increasing ascendancy #17. The law of stability was overcome by the power of ideas, constantly varied and rapidly renewed #18; ideas that give life and motion, that take wing and traverse seas and frontiers, making it futile to pursue the consecutive order of events in the seclusion of a separate nationality #19. They compel us to share the existence of societies wider than our own, to be familiar with distant and exotic types, to hold our march upon the loftier summits, along the central range, to live in the company of heroes, and saints, and men of genius, that no single country could produce. We cannot afford wantonly to lose sight of great men and memorable lives, and are bound to store up objects for admiration as far as may be #20; for the effect of implacable research is constantly to reduce their number. No intellectual exercise, for instance, can be more invigorating than to watch the working of the mind of Napoleon, the most entirely known as well as the ablest of historic men. In another sphere, it is the vision of a higher world to be intimate with the character of Fenelon, the cherished model of politicians, ecclesiastics, and men of letters, the witness against one century and precursor of another, the advocate of the poor against oppression, of liberty in an age of arbitrary power, of tolerance in an age of persecution, of the humane virtues among men accustomed to sacrifice them to authority, the man of whom one enemy says that his cleverness was enough to strike terror, and another, that genius poured in torrents from his eyes. For the minds that are greatest and best alone furnish the instructive examples. A man of ordinary proportion or inferior metal knows not how to think out the rounded circle of his thought, how to divest his will of its surroundings and to rise above the pressure of time and race and circumstance #21, to choose the star that guides his course, to correct, and test, and assay his convictions by the light within #22, and, with a resolute conscience and ideal courage, to remodel and reconstitute the character which birth and education gave him #23.
For ourselves, if it were not the quest of the higher level and the extended horizon, international history would be imposed by the exclusive and insular reason that parliamentary reporting is younger than parliaments. The foreigner has no mystic fabric in his government, and no arcanum imperii. For him the foundations have been laid bare; every motive and function of the mechanism is accounted for as distinctly as the works of a watch. But with our indigenous constitution, not made with hands or written upon paper, but claiming to develop by a law of organic growth; with our disbelief in the virtue of definitions and general principles and our reliance on relative truths, we can have nothing equivalent to the vivid and prolonged debates in which other communities have displayed the inmost secrets of political science to every man who can read. And the discussions of constituent assemblies, at Philadelphia, Versailles and Paris, at Cadiz and Brussels, at Geneva, Frankfort and Berlin, above nearly all, those of the most enlightened States in the American Union, when they have recast their institutions, are paramount in the literature of politics, and proffer treasures which at home we have never enjoyed.
To historians the later part of their enormous subject is precious because it is inexhaustible. It is the best to know because it is the best known and the most explicit. Earlier scenes stand out from a background of obscurity. We soon reach the sphere of hopeless ignorance and unprofitable doubt. But hundreds and even thousands of the moderns have borne testimony against themselves, and may be studied in their private correspondence and sentenced on their own confession. Their deeds are done in the daylight. Every country opens its archives and invites us to penetrate the mysteries of State. When Hallam wrote his chapter on James II, France was the only Power whose reports were available. Rome followed, and The Hague; and then came the stores of the Italian States, and at last the Prussian and the Austrian papers, and partly those of Spain. Where Hallam and Lingard were dependent on Barillon, their successors consult the diplomacy of ten governments. The topics indeed are few on which the resources have been so employed that we can be content with the work done for us and never wish it to be done over again. Part of the lives of Luther and Frederic, a little of the Thirty Years' War, much of the American Revolution and the French Restoration, the early years of Richelieu and Mazarin, and a few volumes of Mr. Gardiner, show here and there like Pacific islands in the ocean. I should not even venture to claim for Ranke, the real originator of the heroic study of records, and the most prompt and fortunate of European pathfinders, that there is one of his seventy volumes that has not been overtaken and in part surpassed. It is through his accelerating influence mainly that our branch of study has become progressive, so that the best master is quickly distanced by the better pupil #24. The Vatican archives alone, now made accessible to the world, filled 3239 cases when they were sent to France; and they are not the richest. We are still at the beginning of the documentary age, which will tend to make history independent of historians, to develop learning at the expense of writing, and to accomplish a revolution in other sciences as well.
To men in general I would justify the stress I am laying on Modern History, neither by urging its varied wealth, nor the rupture with precedent, nor the perpetuity of change and increase of pace, nor the growing predominance of opinion over belief, and of knowledge over opinion, but by the argument that it is a narrative told of ourselves, the record of a life which is our own, of efforts not yet abandoned to repose, of problems that still entangle the feet and vex the hearts of men. Every part of it is weighty with inestimable lessons that we must learn by experience and at a great price, if we know not how to profit by the example and teaching of those who have gone before us, in a society largely resembling the one we live in #25. Its study fulfils its purpose even if it only makes us wiser, without producing books, and gives us the gift of historical thinking, which is better than historical learning #27. It is a most powerful ingredient in the formation of character and the training of talent, and our historical judgments have as much to do with hopes of heaven as public or private conduct. Convictions that have been strained through the instances and the comparisons of modern times differ immeasurably in solidity and force from those which every new fact perturbs, and which are often little better than illusions or unsifted prejudice #28.
The first of human concerns is religion, and it is the salient feature of the modern centuries. They are signalised as the scene of Protestant developments. Starting from a time of extreme indifference, ignorance, and decline, they were at once occupied with that conflict which was to rage so long, and of which no man could imagine the infinite consequences. Dogmatic conviction—for I shun to speak of faith in connection with many characters of those days—dogmatic conviction rose to be the centre of universal interest, and remained down to Cromwell the supreme influence and motive of public policy. A time came when the intensity of prolonged conflict, when even the energy of antagonistic assurance abated somewhat, and the controversial spirit began to make room for the scientific; and as the storm subsided, and the area of settled questions emerged, much of the dispute was abandoned to the serene and soothing touch of historians, invested as they are with the prerogative of redeeming the cause of religion from many unjust reproaches, and from the graver evils of reproaches that are just. Ranke used to say that Church interests prevailed in politics until the Seven Years' War, and marked a phase of society that ended when the hosts of Brandenburg went into action at Leuthen, chaunting their Lutheran hymns #29. That bold proposition would be disputed even if applied to the present age. After Sir Robert Peel had broken up his party, the leaders who followed him declared that no popery was the only basis on which it could be reconstructed #30. On the other side may be urged that, in July 1870, at the outbreak of the French war, the only government that insisted on the abolition of the temporal power was Austria; and since then we have witnessed the fall of Castelar, because he attempted to reconcile Spain with Rome.
Soon after 1850 several of the most intelligent men in France, struck by the arrested increase of their own population and by the telling statistics from Further Britain, foretold the coming preponderance of the English race. They did not foretell, what none could then foresee, the still more sudden growth of Prussia, or that the three most important countries of the globe would, by the end of the century, be those that chiefly belonged to the conquests of the Reformation. So that in Religion, as in so many things, the product of these centuries has favoured the new elements; and the centre of gravity, moving from the Mediterranean nations to the Oceanic, from the Latin to the Teuton, has also passed from the Catholic to the Protestant #31.
Out of these controversies proceeded political as well as historical science. It was in the Puritan phase, before the restoration of the Stuarts, that theology, blending with politics, effected a fundamental change. The essentially English reformation of the seventeenth century was less a struggle between churches than between sects, often subdivided by questions of discipline and self-regulation rather than by dogma. The sectaries cherished no purpose or prospect of prevailing over the nations; and they were concerned with the individual more than with the congregation, with conventicles, not with State churches. Their view was narrowed, but their sight was sharpened. It appeared to them that governments and institutions are made to pass away, like things of earth, whilst souls are immortal; that there is no more proportion between liberty and power than between eternity and time; that, therefore, the sphere of enforced command ought to be restricted within fixed limits, and that which had been done by authority, and outward discipline, and organised violence, should be attempted by division of power, and committed to the intellect and the conscience of free men #32. Thus was exchanged the dominion of will over will for the dominion of reason over reason. The true apostles of toleration are not those who sought protection for their own beliefs, or who had none to protect; but men to whom, irrespective of their cause, it was a political, a moral, and a theological dogma, a question of conscience involving both religion and policy #33. Such a man was Socinus; and others arose in the smaller sects—the Independent founder of the colony of Rhode Island, and the Quaker patriarch of Pennsylvania. Much of the energy and zeal which had laboured for authority of doctrine was employed for liberty of prophesying. The air was filled with the enthusiasm of a new cry; but the cause was still the same. It became a boast that religion was the mother of freedom, that freedom was the lawful offspring of religion; and this transmutation, this subversion of established forms of political life by the development of religious thought, brings us to the heart of my subject, to the significant and central feature of the historic cycles before us. Beginning with the strongest religious movement and the most refined despotism ever known, it has led to the superiority of politics over divinity in the life of nations, and terminates in the equal claim of every man to be unhindered by man in the fulfilment of duty to God #34—a doctrine laden with storm and havoc, which is the secret essence of the Rights of Man, and the indestructible soul of Revolution.
When we consider what the adverse forces were, their sustained resistance, their frequent recovery, the critical moments when the struggle seemed for ever desperate, in 1685, in 1772, in 1808, it is no hyperbole to say that the progress of the world towards self-government would have been arrested but for the strength afforded by the religious motive in the seventeenth century. And this constancy of progress, of progress in the direction of organised and assured freedom, is the characteristic fact of Modern History, and its tribute to the theory of Providence #35. Many persons, I am well assured, would detect that this is a very old story, and a trivial commonplace, and would challenge proof that the world is making progress in aught but intellect, that it is gaining in freedom, or that increase in freedom is either a progress or a gain. Ranke, who was my own master, rejected the view that I have stated #36; Comte, the master of better men, believed that we drag a lengthening chain under the gathered weight of the dead hand #37; and many of our recent classics—Carlyle, Newman, Froude—were persuaded that there is no progress justifying the ways of God to man, and that the mere consolidation of liberty is like the motion of creatures whose advance is in the direction of their tails. They deem that anxious precaution against bad government is an obstruction to good, and degrades morality and mind by placing the capable at the mercy of the incapable, dethroning enlightened virtue for the benefit of the average man. They hold that great and salutary things are done for mankind by power concentrated, not by power balanced and cancelled and dispersed, and that the whig theory, sprung from decomposing sects, the theory that authority is legitimate only by virtue of its checks, and that the sovereign is dependent on the subject, is rebellion against the divine will manifested all down the stream of time.
I state the objection not that we may plunge into the crucial controversy of a science that is not identical with ours, but in order to make my drift clear by the defining aid of express contradiction. No political dogma is as serviceable to my purpose here as the historian's maxim to do the best he can for the other side, and to avoid pertinacity or emphasis on his own. Like the economic precept laissez faire #38, which the eighteenth century derived from Colbert, it has been an important, if not a final step in the making of method. The strongest and most impressive personalities, it is true, like Macaulay, Thiers, and the two greatest of living writers, Mommsen and Treitschke, project their own broad shadow upon their pages. This is a practice proper to great men, and a great man may be worth several immaculate historians. Otherwise there is virtue in the saying that a historian is seen at his best when he does not appear #39. Better for us is the example of the Bishop of Oxford, who never lets us know what he thinks of anything but the matter before him; and of his illustrious French rival, Fustel de Coulanges, who said to an excited audience: "Do not imagine you are listening to me; it is history itself that speaks." #40 We can found no philosophy on the observation of four hundred years, excluding three thousand. It would be an imperfect and a fallacious induction. But I hope that even this narrow and dis-edifying section of history will aid you to see that the action of Christ who is risen on mankind whom he redeemed fails not, but increases #41; that the wisdom of divine rule appears not in the perfection but in the improvement of the world #42; and that achieved liberty is the one ethical result that rests on the converging and combined conditions of advancing civilisation #43. Then you will understand what a famous philosopher said, that History is the true demonstration of Religion #44.
But what do people mean who proclaim that liberty is the palm, and the prize, and the crown, seeing that it is an idea of which there are two hundred definitions, and that this wealth of interpretation has caused more bloodshed than anything, except theology? Is it Democracy as in France, or Federalism as in America, or the national independence which bounds the Italian view, or the reign of the fittest, which is the ideal of Germans #45? I know not whether it will ever fall within my sphere of duty to trace the slow progress of that idea through the chequered scenes of our history, and to describe how subtle speculations touching the nature of conscience promoted a nobler and more spiritual conception of the liberty that protects it #46, until the guardian of rights developed into the guardian of duties which are the cause of rights #47, and that which had been prized as the material safeguard for treasures of earth became sacred as security for things that are divine. All that we require is a workday key to history, and our present need can be supplied without pausing to satisfy philosophers. Without inquiring how far Sarasa or Butler, Kant or Vinet, is right as to the infallible voice of God in man, we may easily agree in this, that where absolutism reigned, by irresistible arms, concentrated possessions, auxiliary churches, and inhuman laws, it reigns no more; that commerce having risen against land, labour against wealth, the State against the forces dominant in society #48, the division of power against the State, the thought of individuals against the practice of ages, neither authorities, nor minorities, nor majorities can command implicit obedience; and, where there has been long and arduous experience, a rampart of tried conviction and accumulated knowledge, where there is a fair level of general morality, education, courage, and self-restraint, there, if there only, a society may be found that exhibits the condition of life towards which, by elimination of failures, the world has been moving through the allotted space #50. You will know it by outward signs: Representation, the extinction of slavery, the reign of opinion, and the like; better still by less apparent evidences: the security of the weaker groups #51 and the liberty of conscience, which, effectually secured, secures the rest.
Here we reach a point at which my argument threatens to abut on a contradiction. If the supreme conquests of society are won more often by violence than by lenient arts, if the trend and drift of things is towards convulsions and catastrophes #52, if the world owes religious liberty to the Dutch Revolution, constitutional government to the English, federal republicanism to the American, political equality to the French and its successors #53, what is to become of us, docile and attentive students of the absorbing Past? The triumph of the Revolutionist annuls the historian #54. By its authentic exponents, Jefferson and Sieyes, the Revolution of the last century repudiates history. Their followers renounced acquaintance with it, and were ready to destroy its records and to abolish its inoffensive professors. But the unexpected truth, stranger than fiction, is that this was not the ruin but the renovation of history. Directly and indirectly, by process of development and by process of reaction, an impulse was given which made it infinitely more effectual as a factor of civilisation than ever before, and a movement began in the world of minds which was deeper and more serious than the revival of ancient learning #55. The dispensation under which we live and labour consists first in the recoil from the negative spirit that rejected the law of growth, and partly in the endeavour to classify and adjust the Revolution, and to account for it by the natural working of historic causes. The Conservative line of writers, under the name of the Romantic or Historical School, had its seat in Germany, looked upon the Revolution as an alien episode, the error of an age, a disease to be treated by the investigation of its origin, and strove to unite the broken threads and to restore the normal conditions of organic evolution. The Liberal School, whose home was France, explained and justified the Revolution as a true development, and the ripened fruit of all history #56. These are the two main arguments of the generation to which we owe the notion and the scientific methods that make history so unlike what it was to the survivors of the last century. Severally, the innovators were not superior to the men of old. Muratori was as widely read, Tillemont as accurate, Liebnitz as able, Freret as acute, Gibbon as masterly in the craft of composite construction. Nevertheless, in the second quarter of this century, a new era began for historians.
I would point to three things in particular, out of many, which constitute the amended order. Of the incessant deluge of new and unsuspected matter I need say little. For some years, the secret archives of the papacy were accessible at Paris; but the time was not ripe, and almost the only man whom they availed was the archivist himself #57. Towards 1830 the documentary studies began on a large scale, Austria leading the way. Michelet, who claims, towards 1836, to have been the pioneer #58, was preceded by such rivals as Mackintosh, Bucholtz, and Mignet. A new and more productive period began thirty years later, when the war of 1859 laid open the spoils of Italy. Every country in succession has now been allowed the exploration of its records, and there is more fear of drowning than of drought. The result has been that a lifetime spent in the largest collection of printed books would not suffice to train a real master of modern history. After he had turned from literature to sources, from Burner to Pocock, from Macaulay to Madame Campana, from Thiers to the interminable correspondence of the Bonapartes, he would still feel instant need of inquiry at Venice or Naples, in the Ossuna library or at the Hermitage #59.
These matters do not now concern us. For our purpose, the main thing to learn is not the art of accumulating material, but the sublimer art of investigating it, of discerning truth from falsehood and certainty from doubt. It is by solidity of criticism more than by the plenitude of erudition, that the study of history strengthens, and straightens, and extends the mind #60. And the accession of the critic in the place of the indefatigable compiler, of the artist in coloured narrative, the skilled limner of character, the persuasive advocate of good, or other, causes, amounts to a transfer of government, to a change of dynasty, in the historic realm. For the critic is one who, when he lights on an interesting statement, begins by suspecting it. He remains in suspense until he has subjected his authority to three operations. First, he asks whether he has read the passage as the author wrote it. For the transcriber, and the editor, and the official or officious censor on the top of the editor, have played strange tricks, and have much to answer for. And if they are not to blame, it may turn out that the author wrote his book twice over, that you can discover the first jet, the progressive variations, things added, and things struck out. Next is the question where the writer got his information. If from a previous writer, it can be ascertained, and the inquiry has to be repeated. If from unpublished papers, they must be traced, and when the fountain-head is reached, or the track disappears, the question of veracity arises. The responsible writer's character, his position, antecedents, and probable motives have to be examined into; and this is what, in a different and adapted sense of the word, may be called the higher criticism, in comparison with the servile and often mechanical work of pursuing statements to their root. For a historian has to be treated as a witness, and not believed unless his sincerity is established #61. The maxim that a man must be presumed to be innocent until his guilt is proved, was not made for him.
For us, then, the estimate of authorities, the weighing of testimony, is more meritorious than the potential discovery of new matter #62. And modern history, which is the widest field of application, is not the best to learn our business in; for it is too wide, and the harvest has not been winnowed as in antiquity, and further on to the Crusades. It is better to examine what has been done for questions that are compact and circumscribed, such as the sources of Plutarch's Pericles, the two tracts on Athenian government, the origin of the epistle to Diognetus, the date of the life of St. Antony; and to learn from Schwegler how this analytical work began. More satisfying because more decisive has been the critical treatment of the medieval writers, parallel with the new editions, on which incredible labour has been lavished, and of which we have no better examples than the prefaces of Bishop Stubbs. An important event in this series was the attack on Dino Compagni, which, for the sake of Dante, roused the best Italian scholars to a not unequal contest. When we are told that England is behind the Continent in critical faculty, we must admit that this is true as to quantity, not as to quality of work. As they are no longer living, I will say of two Cambridge professors, Lightfoot and Hort, that they were critical scholars whom neither Frenchman nor German has surpassed.
The third distinctive note of the generation of writers who dug so deep a trench between history as known to our grandfathers and as it appears to us, is their dogma of impartiality. To an ordinary man the word means no more than justice. He considers that he may proclaim the merits of his own religion, of his prosperous and enlightened country, of his political persuasion, whether democracy, or liberal monarchy, or historic conservatism, without transgression or offence, so long as he is fair to the relative, though inferior, merits of others, and never treats men as saints or as rogues for the side they take. There is no impartiality, he would say, like that of a hanging judge. The men, who, with the compass of criticism in their hands, sailed the uncharted sea of original research proposed a different view. History, to be above evasion or dispute, must stand on documents, not on opinions. They had their own notion of truthfulness, based on the exceeding difficulty of finding truth, and the still greater difficulty of impressing it when found. They thought it possible to write, with so much scruple, and simplicity, and insight, as to carry along with them every man of good will, and, whatever his feelings, to compel its assent. Ideas which, in religion and in politics, are truths, in history are forces. They must be respected; they must not be affirmed. By dint of a supreme reserve, by much self-control, by a timely and discreet indifference, by secrecy in the matter of the black cap, history might be lifted above contention, and made an accepted tribunal, and the same for all #63. If men were truly sincere, and delivered judgment by no canons but those of evident morality, then Julian would be described in the same terms by Christian and pagan, Luther by Catholic and Protestant, Washington by Whig and Tory, Napoleon by patriotic Frenchman and patriotic German #64.
I speak of this school with reverence, for the good it has done, by the assertion of historic truth and of its legitimate authority over the minds of men. It provides a discipline which every one of us does well to undergo, and perhaps also well to relinquish. For it is not the whole truth. Lanfrey's essay on Carnot, Chuquet's wars of the Revolution, Ropes's military histories, Roget's Geneva in the time of Calvin, will supply you with examples of a more robust impartiality than I have described. Renan calls it the luxury of an opulent and aristocratic society, doomed to vanish in an age of fierce and sordid striving. In our universities it has a magnificent and appointed refuge; and to serve its cause, which is sacred, because it is the cause of truth and honour, we may import a profitable lesson from the highly unscientific region of public life. There a man does not take long to find out that he is opposed by some who are abler and better than himself. And, in order to understand the cosmic force and the true connection of ideas, it is a source of power, and an excellent school of principle, not to rest until, by excluding the fallacies, the prejudices, the exaggerations which perpetual contention and the consequent precautions breed, we have made out for our opponents a stronger and more impressive case than they present themselves #65. Excepting one to which we are coming before I release you, there is no precept less faithfully observed by historians.
Ranke is the representative of the age which instituted the modern study of History. He taught it to be critical, to be colourless, and to be new. We meet him at every step, and he has done more for us than any other man. There are stronger books than any one of his, and some may have surpassed him in political, religious, philosophic insight, in vividness of the creative imagination, in originality, elevation, and depth of thought; but by the extent of important work well executed, by his influence on able men, and by the amount of knowledge which mankind receives and employs with the stamp of his mind upon it, he stands without a rival. I saw him last in 1877, when he was feeble, sunken, and almost blind, and scarcely able to read or write. He uttered his farewell with kindly emotion, and I feared that the next I should hear of him would be the news of his death. Two years later he began a Universal History, which is not without traces of weakness, but which, composed after the age of 83, and carried, in seventeen volumes, far into the Middle Ages, brings to a close the most astonishing career in literature.
His course had been determined, in early life, by Quentin Durward. The shock of the discovery that Scott's Lewis the Eleventh was inconsistent with the original in Commynes made him resolve that his object thenceforth should be above all things to follow, without swerving, and in stern subordination and surrender, the lead of his authorities. He decided effectually to repress the poet, the patriot, the religious or political partisan, to sustain no cause, to banish himself from his books, and to write nothing that would gratify his own feelings or disclose his private convictions #66. When a strenuous divine, who, like him, had written on the Reformation, hailed him as a comrade, Ranke repelled his advances. "You," he said, "are in the first place a Christian: I am in the first place a historian. There is a gulf between us." #67 He was the first eminent writer who exhibited what Michelet calls le desinteressement des morts. It was a moral triumph for him when he could refrain from judging, show that much might be said on both sides, and leave the rest to Providence #68. He would have felt sympathy with the two famous London physicians of our day, of whom it is told that they could not make up their minds on a case and reported dubiously. The head of the family insisted on a positive opinion. They answered that they were unable to give one, but he might easily find fifty doctors who could.
Niebuhr had pointed out that chroniclers who wrote before the invention of printing generally copied one predecessor at a time, and knew little about sifting or combining authorities. The suggestion became luminous in Ranke's hands, and with his light and dexterous touch he scrutinised and dissected the principal historians, from Machiavelli to the Memoires d'un Homme d'Etat, with a rigour never before applied to moderns. But whilst Niebuhr dismissed the traditional story, replacing it with a construction of his own, it was Ranke's mission to preserve, not to undermine, and to set up masters whom, in their proper sphere, he could obey. The many excellent dissertations in which he displayed this art, though his successors in the next generation matched his skill and did still more thorough work, are the best introduction from which we can learn the technical process by which within living memory the study of modern history has been renewed. Ranke's contemporaries, weary of his neutrality and suspense, and of the useful but subordinate work that was done by beginners who borrowed his wand, thought that too much was made of these obscure preliminaries which a man may accomplish for himself, in the silence of his chamber, with less demand on the attention of the public #69. That may be reasonable in men who are practised in these fundamental technicalities. We, who have to learn them, must immerse ourselves in the study of the great examples.
Apart from what is technical, method is only the reduplication of common sense, and is best acquired by observing its use by the ablest men in every variety of intellectual employment #70. Bentham acknowledged that he learned less from his own profession than from writers like Linnaeus and Cullen; and Brougham advised the student of Law to begin with Dante. Liebig described his Organic Chemistry as an application of ideas found in Mill's Logic, and a distinguished physician, not to be named lest he should overhear me, read three books to enlarge his medical mind; and they were Gibbon, Grote, and Mill. He goes on to say, "An educated man cannot become so on one study alone, but must be brought under the influence of natural, civil, and moral modes of thought." #71 I quote my colleague's golden words in order to reciprocate them. If men of science owe anything to us, we may learn much from them that is essential #72. For they can show how to test proof, how to secure fulness and soundness in induction, how to restrain and to employ with safety hypothesis and analogy. It is they who hold the secret of the mysterious property of the mind by which error ministers to truth, and truth slowly but irrevocably prevails #73. Theirs is the logic of discovery #74, the demonstration of the advance of knowledge and the development of ideas, which as the earthly wants and passions of men remain almost unchanged, are the charter of progress and the vital spark in history. And they often give us invaluable counsel when they attend to their own subjects and address their own people. Remember Darwin taking note only of those passages that raised difficulties in his way; the French philosopher complaining that his work stood still, because he found no more contradicting facts; Baer, who thinks error treated thoroughly nearly as remunerative as truth, by the discovery of new objections; for, as Sir Robert Ball warns us, it is by considering objections that we often learn #75. Faraday declares that "in knowledge, that man only is to be condemned and despised who is not in a state of transition." And John Hunter spoke for all of us when he said: "Never ask me what I have said or what I have written; but if you will ask me what my present opinions are, I will tell you."
From the first years of the century we have been quickened and enriched by contributors from every quarter. The jurists brought us that law of continuous growth which has transformed history from a chronicle of casual occurrences into the likeness of something organic #76. Towards 1820 divines began to recast their doctrines on the lines of development, of which Newman said, long after, that evolution had come to confirm it #77. Even the Economists, who were practical men, dissolved their science into liquid history, affirming that it is not an auxiliary, but the actual subject-matter of their inquiry #78. Philosophers claim that, as early as 1804, they began to bow the metaphysical neck beneath the historical yoke. They taught that philosophy is only the amended sum of all philosophies, that systems pass with the age whose impress they bear #79, that the problem is to focus the rays of wandering but extant truth, and that history is the source of philosophy, if not quite a substitute for it #80. Comte begins a volume with the words that the preponderance of history over philosophy was the characteristic of the time he lived in. Since Cuvier first recognised the conjunction between the course of inductive discovery and the course of civilisation #82, science had its share in saturating the age with historic ways of thought, and subjecting all things to that influence for which the depressing names historicism and historical-mindedness have been devised.
There are certain faults which are corrigible mental defects on which I ought to say a few denouncing words, because they are common to us all. First: the want of an energetic understanding of the sequence and real significance of events, which would be fatal to a practical politician, is ruin to a student of history, who is the politician with his face turned backwards #83. It is playing at study, to see nothing but the unmeaning and unsuggestive surface, as we generally do. Then we have a curious proclivity to neglect, and by degrees to forget, what has been certainly known. An instance or two will explain my idea. The most popular English writer relates how it happened in his presence that the title of Tory was conferred upon the Conservative party. For it was an opprobrious name at the time, applied to men for whom the Irish Government offered head-money; so that if I have made too sure of progress, I may at least complacently point to this instance of our mended manners. One day, Titus Oates lost his temper with the men who refused to believe him, and, after looking about for a scorching imprecation, he began to call them Tories #84. The name remained; but its origin, attested by Defoe, dropped out of common memory, as if one party were ashamed of their godfather, and the other did not care to be identified with his cause and character. You all know, I am sure, the story of the news of Trafalgar, and how, two days after it had arrived, Mr. Pitt, drawn by an enthusiastic crowd, went to dine in the city. When they drank the health of the minister who had saved his country, he declined the praise. "England," he said, "has saved herself by her own energy; and I hope that after having saved herself by her energy, she will save Europe by her example." In 1814, when this hope had been realised, the last speech of the great orator was remembered, and a medal was struck upon which the whole sentence was engraved, in four words of compressed Latin: Seipsam virtute, Europam exemplo. Now it was just at the time of his last appearance in public that Mr. Pitt heard of the overwhelming success of the French in Germany, and of the Austrian surrender at Ulm. His friends concluded that the contest on land was hopeless, and that it was time to abandon the Continent to the conqueror, and to fall back upon our new empire of the sea. Pitt did not agree with them. He said that Napoleon would meet with a check whenever he encountered a national resistance; and he declared that Spain was the place for it, and that then England would intervene #85. General Wellesley, fresh from India, was present. Ten years later, when he had accomplished that which Pitt had seen in the lucid prescience of his last days, he related at Paris what I scarcely hesitate to call the most astounding and profound prediction in all political history, where such things have not been rare.
I shall never again enjoy the opportunity of speaking my thoughts to such an audience as this, and on so privileged an occasion a lecturer may well be tempted to bethink himself whether he knows of any neglected truth, any cardinal proposition, that might serve as his selected epigraph, as a last signal, perhaps even as a target. I am not thinking of those shining precepts which are the registered property of every school; that is to say—Learn as much by writing as by reading; be not content with the best book; seek sidelights from the others; have no favourites; keep men and things apart; guard against the prestige of great names #86; see that your judgments are your own, and do not shrink from disagreement; no trusting without testing; be more severe to ideas than to actions #87; do not overlook the strength of the bad cause or the weakness of the good #88; never be surprised by the crumbling of an idol or the disclosure of a skeleton; judge talent at its best and character at its worst; suspect power more than vice #89, and study problems in preference to periods; for instance: the derivation of Luther, the scientific influence of Bacon, the predecessors of Adam Smith, the medieval masters of Rousseau, the consistency of Burke, the identity of the first Whig. Most of this, I suppose, is undisputed, and calls for no enlargement. But the weight of opinion is against me when I exhort you never to debase the moral currency or to lower the standard of rectitude, but to try others by the final maxim that governs your own lives, and to suffer no man and no cause to escape the undying penalty which history has the power to inflict on wrong #90. The plea in extenuation of guilt and mitigation of punishment is perpetual. At every step we are met by arguments which go to excuse, to palliate, to confound right and wrong, and reduce the just man to the level of the reprobate. The men who plot to baffle and resist us are, first of all, those who made history what it has become. They set up the principle that only a foolish Conservative judges the present time with the ideas of the past; that only a foolish Liberal judges the past with the ideas of the present #91.
The mission of that school was to make distant times, and especially the Middle Ages, then most distant of all, intelligible and acceptable to a society issuing from the eighteenth century. There were difficulties in the way; and among others this, that, in the first fervour of the Crusades, the men who took the Cross, after receiving communion, heartily devoted the day to the extermination of Jews. To judge them by a fixed standard, to call them sacrilegious fanatics or furious hypocrites, was to yield a gratuitous victory to Voltaire. It became a rule of policy to praise the spirit when you could not defend the deed. So that we have no common code; our moral notions are always fluid; and you must consider the times, the class from which men sprang, the surrounding influences, the masters in their schools, the preachers in their pulpits, the movement they obscurely obeyed, and so on, until responsibility is merged in numbers, and not a culprit is left for execution #92. A murderer was no criminal if he followed local custom, if neighbours approved, if he was encouraged by official advisers or prompted by just authority, if he acted for the reason of state or the pure love of religion, or if he sheltered himself behind the complicity of the Law. The depression of morality was flagrant; but the motives were those which have enabled us to contemplate with distressing complacency the secret of unhallowed lives. The code that is greatly modified by time and place, will vary according to the cause. The amnesty is an artifice that enables us to make exceptions, to tamper with weights and measures, to deal unequal justice to friends and enemies.
It is associated with that philosophy which Cato attributes to the gods. For we have a theory which justifies Providence by the event, and holds nothing so deserving as success, to which there can be no victory in a bad cause; prescription and duration legitimate #93; and whatever exists is right and reasonable; and as God manifests His will by that which He tolerates, we must conform to the divine decree by living to shape the future after the ratified image of the past #94. Another theory, less confidently urged, regards History as our guide, as much by showing errors to evade as examples to pursue. It is suspicious of illusions in success, and, though there may be hope of ultimate triumph for what is true, if not by its own attraction, by the gradual exhaustion of error, it admits no corresponding promise for what is ethically right. It deems the canonisation of the historic past more perilous than ignorance or denial, because it would perpetuate the reign of sin and acknowledge the sovereignty of wrong, and conceives it the part of real greatness to know how to stand and fall alone, stemming, for a lifetime, the contemporary flood #95.
Ranke relates, without adornment, that William III ordered the extirpation of a Catholic clan, and scouts the faltering excuse of his defenders. But when he comes to the death and character of the international deliverer, Glencoe is forgotten, the imputation of murder drops, like a thing unworthy of notice #96. Johannes Mueller, a great Swiss celebrity, writes that the British Constitution occurred to somebody, perhaps to Halifax. This artless statement might not be approved by rigid lawyers as a faithful and felicitous indication of the manner of that mysterious growth of ages, from occult beginnings, that was never profaned by the invading wit of man #97; but it is less grotesque than it appears. Lord Halifax was the most original writer of political tracts in the pamphleteering crowd between Harrington and Bolingbroke; and in the Exclusion struggle he produced a scheme of limitations which, in substance, if not in form, foreshadowed the position of the monarchy in the later Hanoverian reigns. Although Halifax did not believe in the plot #98, he insisted that innocent victims should be sacrificed to content the multitude. Sir William Temple writes: "We only disagreed in one point, which was the leaving some priests to the law upon the accusation of being priests only, as the House of Commons had desired; which I thought wholly unjust. Upon this point Lord Halifax and I had so sharp a debate at Lord Sunderland's lodgings, that he told me, if I would not concur in points which were so necessary for the people's satisfaction, he would tell everybody I was a Papist. And upon his affirming that the plot must be handled as if it were true, whether it were so or no, in those points that were so generally believed." In spite of this accusing passage, Macaulay, who prefers Halifax to all the statesmen of his age, praises him for his mercy: "His dislike of extremes, and a forgiving and compassionate temper which seems to have been natural to him, preserved him from all participation in the worst crimes of his time."
If, in our uncertainty, we must often err, it may be sometimes better to risk excess in rigour than in indulgence, for then at least we do no injury by loss of principle. As Bayle has said, it is more probable that the secret motives of an indifferent action are bad than good #99; and this discouraging conclusion does not depend upon theology, for James Mozley supports the sceptic from the other flank, with all the artillery of the Tractarian Oxford. "A Christian," he says, "is bound by his very creed to suspect evil, and cannot release himself.... He sees it where others do not; his instinct is divinely strengthened; his eye is supernaturally keen; he has a spiritual insight, and senses exercised to discern.... He owns the doctrine of original sin; that doctrine puts him necessarily on his guard against appearances, sustains his apprehension under perplexity, and prepares him for recognising anywhere what he knows to be everywhere." #100 There is a popular saying of Madame de Stael, that we forgive whatever we really understand. The paradox has been judiciously pruned by her descendant, the Duke de Broglie, in the words: "Beware of too much explaining, lest we end by too much excusing." #101 History, says Froude, does teach that right and wrong are real distinctions. Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral law is written on the tablets of eternity #102. And if there are moments when we may resist the teaching of Froude, we have seldom the chance of resisting when he is supported by Mr. Goldwin Smith: "A sound historical morality will sanction strong measures in evil times; selfish ambition, treachery, murder, perjury, it will never sanction in the worst of times, for these are the things that make times evil—Justice has been justice, mercy has been mercy, honour has been honour, good faith has been good faith, truthfulness has been truthfulness from the beginning." The doctrine that, as Sir Thomas Browne says, morality is not ambulatory #103, is expressed as follows by Burke, who, when true to himself, is the most intelligent of our instructors: "My principles enable me to form my judgment upon men and actions in history, just as they do in common life; and not formed out of events and characters, either present or past. History is a preceptor of prudence, not of principles. The principles of true politics are those of morality enlarged; and I neither now do, nor ever will admit of any other." #104
Whatever a man's notions of these later centuries are, such, in the main, the man himself will be. Under the name of History, they cover the articles of his philosophic, his religious, and his political creed #105. They give his measure; they denote his character: and, as praise is the shipwreck of historians, his preferences betray him more than his aversions. Modern History touches us so nearly, it is so deep a question of life and death, that we are bound to find our own way through it, and to owe our insight to ourselves. The historians of former ages, unapproachable for us in knowledge and in talent, cannot be our limit. We have the power to be more rigidly impersonal, disinterested and just than they; and to learn from undisguised and genuine records to look with remorse upon the past, and to the future with assured hope of better things; bearing this in mind, that if we lower our standard in History, we cannot uphold it in Church or State.
NOTES TO THE INAUGURAL LECTURE ON THE STUDY OF HISTORY
#1 No political conclusions of any value for practice can be arrived at by direct experience. All true political science is, in one sense of the phrase, a priori, being deduced from the tendencies of things, tendencies known either through our general experience of human nature, or as the result of an analysis of the course of history, considered as a progressive evolution.—MILL, Inaugural Address, 51.
#2 Contemporary history is, in Dr. Arnold's opinion, more important than either ancient or modern; and in fact superior to it by all the superiority of the end to the means.—SEELEY, Lectures and Essays, 306.
#3 The law of all progress is one and the same, the evolution of the simple into the complex by successive differentiations.—Edinburgh Review, clvii. 428. Die Entwickelung der Volker vollzieht sich nach zwei Gesetzen. Des erste Gesetz ist das der Differenzierung. Die primitiven Einrichtungen sind einfach and einheitlich, die der Civilisation zusammengesetzt and geteilt, und die Arbeitsteilung nimmt bestandig zu.—SICKEL, Goettingen Gelehrte Anzeigen, 1890, 563.
#4 Nous risquons toujours d'etre influences par les prejuges de notre epoque; mais nous sommes libres des prejuges particuliers aux epoques anterieures.—E. NAVILLE, Christianisme de Fenelon, 9.
#5 La nature n'est qu'un echo de l'esprit. L'idee est la mere du fait, elle faconne graduellement le monde a son image.— FEUCHTERSLEBEN, in CARO, Nouvelles Etudes Morales, 132. Il n'est pas d'etude morale qui vaille l'histoire d'une idee.— LABOULAYE, Liberte Religieuse, 25.
#6 Il y a des savants qui raillent le sentiment religieux. Ils ne savent pas que c'est a ce sentiment, et par son moyen, que la science historique doit d'avoir pu sortir de l'enfence. . . . Depuis des siecles les ames independantes discutaient les textes et les traditions de l'eglise, quand les lettres n'avaient pas encore eu l'idee de porter un regard critique sur les textes de l'antiquite mondaine.—La France Protestante, ii. 17.
#7 In our own history, above all, every step in advance has been at the same time a step backwards. It has often been shown how our latest constitution is, amidst all external differences, essentially the same as our earliest, how every struggle for right and freedom, from the thirteenth century onwards, has simply been a struggle for recovering something old.—FREEMAN, Historical Essays, iv., 253. Nothing but a thorough knowledge of the social system, based upon a regular study of its growth, can give us the power we require to affect it.—HARRISON, Meaning of History, 19. Eine Sache wird nur vollig auf dem Wege verstanden, wie sie selbst entsteht.—In dem genetischen Verfahren sind the Grunde der Sache, auch die Grunde des Erkennens.—TRENDELENBURG, Logische Untersuchungen, ii. 395, 388.
#8 Une telle liberte . . . n'a rien de commun avec le savant systeme de garanties qui fait libres les peuples modernes.—BOUTMY, Annales des Sciences Politiques, i. 157. Les trois grandes reformes qui ont renouvele l'Angleterre, la liberte religieuse, la reforme parlementaire; et la liberte economique, ont ete obtenues sous la pression des organisations extra-constitutionnelles.-OSTROGORSKI, Revue Historique, lii. 272.
#9 The question which is at the bottom of all constitutional struggles, the question between the national will and the national law.—GARDINER, Documents, xviii. Religion, considered simply as the principle which balances the power of human opinion, which takes man out of the grasp of custom and fashion, and teaches him to refer himself to a higher tribunal, is an infinite aid to moral strength and elevation.—CHANNING, Works, iv. 83. Je tiens que le passe ne suffit jamais au present. Personne n'est plus dispose que moi a profiter de ses lecons; mais en meme temps, je le demande, le present ne fournit-il pas toujours les indications qui lui sont propres?—MOLE, in FALLOUX, Etudes et Souvenirs, 130. Admirons la sagesse de nos peres, et tachons de l'imiter, en faisant ce qui convient a notre siecle.-GALIANI, Dialogues, 40
#10 Ceterum in legendis Historiis malim te ductum animi, quam anxias leges sequi. Nullae stint, quae non magnas habeant utilitates; et melius haerent, quae libenter legimus. In universum tamen, non incipere ab antiquissimis, sod ab his, quae nostris temporibus nostraeque notitiae propius cohaerent, ac paulatim deinde in remotiora eniti, magis e re arbitror.-GROTIUS, Epistolae, 18.
#11 The older idea of a law of degeneracy, of a "fatal drift towards the worse," is as obsolete as astrology or the belief in witchcraft. The human race has become hopeful, sanguine—SEELEY, Rede Lecture, 1887. Fortnightly Review, July 1887, 124.
#12 Formuler des idees generales, c'est changer le salpetre en poudre.—A. DE MUSSET, Confessions d'un Enfant du Siecle, 15. Les revolutions c'est l'avenement des idees liberales. C'est presque toujours par les revolutions qu'elles prevalent et se fondent, et quand les idees liberales en sont veritablement le principe et le but, quand elles leur ont donne naissance, et quand elles les couronnent a leur dernier jour, alors ces revolutions sont legitimes—REMUSAT, 1839, in Revue des Deux Mondes 1875, vi. 335. Il y a meme des personnes de piete qui prouvent par raison qu'il faut renoncer a la raison; que ce n'est point la lumiere, mais la foi seule qui doit nous conduire, et que l'obeissance aveugle est la principale vertu des chretiens. La paresse des inferieurs et leur esprit flatteur s'accommode souvent de cette vertu pretendue, et l'orgueil de ceux qui commandent en est toujours tres content. De sorte qu'il se trouvera peut-etre des gens qui seront scandalises que je fasse cet honneur a la raison, de l'elever au-dessus de toutes les puissances, et qui s'imagineront que je me revolte contre les autorites legitimes a cause que je prends son parti et que je soutiens que c'est a elle a decider et a regner.—MALEBRANCHE, Morale, i. 2, 13. That great statesman (Mr. Pitt) distinctly avowed that the application of philosophy to politics was at that time an innovation, and that it was an innovation worthy to be adopted. He was ready to make the same avowal in the present day which Mr. Pitt had made in 1792.—CANNING, 1st June 1827. Parliamentary Review, 1828, 71. American history knows but one avenue of success in American legislation, freedom from ancient prejudice. The best lawgivers in our colonies first became as little children.—BANCROFT, History of the United State, i. 494. Every American, from Jefferson and Gallatin down to the poorest squatter, seemed to nourish an idea that he was doing what he could to overthrow the tyranny which the past had fastened on the human mind.—ADAMS, History of the United States, i. 175.
#13 The greatest changes of which we have had experience as yet are due to our increasing knowledge of history and nature. They have been produced by a few minds appearing in three or four favoured nations, in comparatively a short period of time. May we be allowed to imagine the minds of men everywhere working together during many ages for the completion of our knowledge? May not the increase of knowledge transfigure the world?—JOWETT, Plato, i. 414. Nothing, I believe, is so likely to beget in us a spirit of enlightened liberality, of Christian forbearance, of large-hearted moderation, as the careful study of the history of doctrine and the history of interpretation.— PEROWNE, Psalms, i. p. xxxi.
#14 Ce n'est guere avant la seconde moitie du XVIIe siecle qu'il devint impossible de soutenir l'authenticite des fausses decretales, des Constitutions apostoliques, des Recognitions Clementines, du faux Ignace, du pseudo-Dionys, et de l'immense fatras d'oeuvres anonymes ou pseudonymes qui grossissait souvent du tiers ou de la moitie l'heritage litteraire des auteurs les plus considerables.—DUCHESNE, Temoins anteniciens de la Trinite, 1883, 36.
#15 A man who does not know what has been thought by those who have gone before him is sure to set an undue value upon his own ideas.— M. PATTISON, Memoirs, 78.
#16 Travailler a discerner, dans cette discipline, le solide d'avec le frivole, le vrai d'avec le vraisemblable, la science d'avec l'opinion, ce qui forme le jugement d'avec ce qui ne fait que charger memoire.— LAMY, Connoissance de soi-meme, v. 459
#17 All our hopes of the future depend on a sound understanding of the past—HARRISON, The Meaning of History, 6.
#18 The real history of mankind is that of the slow advance of resolved deed following laboriously just thought; and all the greatest men live in their purpose and effort more than it is possible for them to live in reality.—The things that actually happened were of small consequence—the thoughts that were developed are of infinite consequence.—RUSKIN. Facts are the mere dross of history. It is from the abstract truth which interpenetrates them, and lies latent among them like gold in the ore, that the mass derives its value.—MACAULAY, Works, v. 131.
#19 Die Gesetze der Geschichte sind eben die Gesetze der ganzen Menschheit, gehen nicht in die Geschicke eines Volkes, einer Generation oder gar eines Einzelnen auf. Individuen and Geschlechter, Staaten and Nationen, konnen zerstauben, die Menschheit bleibt— A. SCHMIDT, Zuricher Monatsschrift, i. 45.
#20 Le grand peril des ages democratiques, soyez-en sur, c'est la destruction ou l'affaiblissement excessif des parties du corps social en presence du tout. Tout ce qui releve de nos jours l'idee de l'individu est sain.—TOCQUEVILLE, 3rd January 1840, OEuvres, vii. 97. En France, il n'y a plus d'hommes. On a systematiquement tue l'homme au profit du people, des masses, comme disent nos legislateurs ecerveles. Puis un beau jour, on s'est apercu que ce people n'avait jamais existe qu'en projet, que ces masses etaient un troupeau mi-partie de moutons et de tigres. C'est une triste histoire. Nous avons a relever l'ame humaine contre l'aveugle et brutale tyrannie des multitudes.—LANFREY, 23rd March 1855. M. Du CAMP, Souvenirs Litteraires, ii. 273. C'est le propre de la vertu d'etre invisible, meme dans l'histoire, a tout autre oeil que celui de la conscience. —VACHEROT, Comptes Rendus de l'Institut, lxix. 319. Dans l'histoire ou la bonte est la perle rare, qui a ete bon passe presque avant qui a ete grand.—V. HUGO, Les Miserables, vii. 46. Grosser Maenner Leben und Tod der Wahrheit gemaess mit Liebe zu schildern, ist zu allen Zeiten herzerhebend; am meisten aber dann wenn im Kreislauf der irdischen Dinge die Sterne wieder aehnlich stehen wie damals als sie unter uns lebten.—LASAULX, Sokrate, 3. Instead of saying that the history of mankind is the history of the masses, it would be much more true to say that the history of mankind is the history of its great men.—KINGSLEY, Lectures, 329.
#21 Le genie n'est que la plus complete emancipation de toutes les influences de temps, de moeurs et de pays.—NISARD, Souvenirs, ii. 43.
#22 Meine kritische Richtung zieht mich in der Wissenschaft durchaus zur Kritik meiner eigenen Gedanken hin, nicht zu der der Gedanken Anderer.—ROTHE, Ethik, i p. 11.
#23 When you are in young years the whole mind is, as it were, fluid, and is capable of forming itself into any shape that the owner of the mind pleases to order it to form itself into.—CARLYLE, On the Choice of Books, 131. Nach allem erscheint es somit unzweifelhaft als eine der psychologischen Voraussetzungen des Strafrechts, ohne welche der Zurechnungsbegriff nicht haltbar ware, dass der Mensch fur seinen Charakter verantwortlich ist and ihn muss abandern konnen.—RUMELIN, Reden and Aufsatse, ii.. 60. An der tiefen and verborgenen Quelle, woraus der Wille entspringt, an diesem Punkt, nur hier steht die Freiheit, and fuhrt das Steuer and lenkt den Willen. Wer nicht bis zu dieser Tiefe in sich einkehren and seinen naturlichen Charakter von hier aus bemetsten kann, der hat nicht den Gebrauch Seiner Freiheit, der ist nicht frei, sondern unterworfen dem Triebwerk seiner Interessen, und dadurch in der Gewalt des Weltlaufs, worin jede Begebenheit und jede Handlung eine nothwendige Folge ist aller vorhergehenden.—FISCHER, Problem der Freiheit, 27.
#24 I must regard the main duty of a Professor to consist, not simply in communicating information, but in doing this in such a manner, and with such an accompaniment of subsidiary means, that the information he conveys may be the occasion of awakening his pupils to a vigorous and varied exertion of their faculties.—SIR W. HAMILTON, Lectures, i. 14. No great man really does his work by imposing his maxims on his disciples, he evokes their life. The pupil may become much wiser than his instructor, he may not accept his conclusions, but he will own, "You awakened me to be myself; for that I thank you."—MAURICE, The Conscience, 7, 8,
#25 Ich sehe die Zeit kommen, wo wir die neuere Geschichte nicht mehr auf die Berichte selbst nicht der gleichzeitigen Historiker, ausser in so weit ihnen neue originale Kenntniss beiwohnte, geschweige denn auf die weiter abgeleiteten Bearbeitungen zu grunden haben, sondern aus den Relationen der Augenzeugen and der achten and unmittelbarsten Urkunden aufbauen werden.—RANKE, Reformation, Preface, 1838, Ce qu'on a trouve et mis an oeuvre est considerable en soi: c'est peu de chose au prix de ce qui reste a trouver et a mettre en oeuvre.—AULARD, Etudes sur la Revolution, 21.
#26 N'attendez donc pas les lecons de l'experience; elles coutent trop cher aux nations.—O. BARROT, Memoires, ii. 435. Il y a des lecons dans tous les temps, pour tous les temps; et celles qu'on emprunte a des ennemis ne sont pas les moins precieuses.—LANFREY, Napoleon, v. p. ii. Old facts may always be fresh, and may give out a fresh meaning for each generation.—MAURICE, Lectures, 62. The object is to lead the student to attend to them; to make him take interest in history not as a mere narrative, but as a chain of causes and effects still unwinding itself before our eyes, and full of momentous consequences to himself and his descendants—an unremitting conflict between good and evil powers, of which every act done by any one of us, insignificant as we are, forms one of the incidents; a conflict in which even the smallest of us cannot escape from taking part, in which whoever does not help the right side is helping the wrong.—MILL, Inaugural Address, 59.
#27 I hold that the degree in which Poets dwell in sympathy with the Past, marks exactly the degree of their poetical faculty.—WORDSWORTH, in C. Fox, Memoirs, June 1842. In all political, all social, all human questions whatever, history is the main resource of the inquirer.—HARRISON, Meaning of History, 15. There are no truths which more readily gain the assent of mankind, or are more firmly retained by them, than those of an historical nature, depending upon the testimony of others.—PRIESTLEY, Letters to French Philosophers, 9. Improvement consists in bringing our opinions into nearer agreement with facts; and we shall not be likely to do this while we look at facts only through glasses coloured by those very opinions.—MILL, Inaugural Address, 25.
#28 He who has learnt to understand the true character and tendency of many succeeding ages is not likely to go very far wrong in estimating his own.—LECKY, Value of History, 21. C'est a l'histoire qu'il faut se prendre, c'est le fait que nous devons interroger, quand l'idee vacille et fait a nos yeux.—MICHELET, Disc. d'Ouverture, 263. C'est la loi des faits telle qu'elle se manifeste dans leur succession. C'est la regle de conduite donnee par la nature humaine et indiquee par l'histoire. C'est la logique, mais cette logique qui ne fait qu'un avec enchainement des choses. C'est l'enseignement de l'experience.—SCHERER, Melanges, 558. Wer seine Vergangenheit nicht als seine Geschichte hat and weiss wird and ist characterlos Wem ein Ereigniss sein Sonst plotzlich abreisst, von seinem Jetzt wird leicht wurzellos.—KLIEFOTH, Rheinwalds Repertorium, xliv. 20. La politique est une des meilleures ecoles pour l'esprit. Elle force a chercher la raison de toutes choses, et ne permet pas cependant de la chercher hors des faits.—REMUSAT, Le Temps Passe, i. 31. It is an unsafe partition that divides opinions without principle from unprincipled opinions.—COLERIDGE, Lay Sermons, 373.
Wer nicht von drei tausend Jahren sich weiss Rechenschaft zu geben, Bleib' im Dunkeln unerfahren, mag von Tag zu tage leben! Goethe
What can be rationally required of the student of philosophy is not a preliminary and absolute, but a gradual and progressive, abrogation of prejudices.—SIR W. HAMILTON, Lectures, iv. 92.
#29 Die Schlacht bei Leuthen ist wohl die letzte, in welcher diese religiosen Gegensatze entscheidend eingewirkt haben.—RANKE, Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, vii. 70.
#30 The only real cry in the country is the proper and just old No Popery cry.—Major Beresford, July 1847. Unfortunately the strongest bond of union amongst them is an apprehension of Popery.—Stanley, 12th September 1847. The great Protectionist party having degenerated into a No Popery, No Jew Party, I am still more unfit now than I was in 1846 to lead it.—G. Bentinck, 26th December 1847; Croker's Memoirs, iii. 116, 132, 157
#31 In the case of Protestantism, this constitutional instability is now a simple matter of fact, which has become too plain to be denied. The system is not fixed, but in motion; and the motion is for the time in the direction of complete self-dissolution.—We take it for a transitory scheme, whose breaking up is to make room in due time for another and far more perfect state of the Church. The new order in which Protestantism is to become thus complete cannot be reached without the co-operation and help of Romanism.—NEVIN, Mercersburg Review, iv. 48.
#32. Diese Heiligen waren es, die aus dem unmittelbaren Glaubensleben and den Grundgedanken der christlichen Freiheit zuerst die Idee allgemeiner Menschenrechte abgeleitet and rein von Selbstsucht vertheidigt haben.—WEINGARTEN, Revolutionskirchen, 447. Wie selbst die Idee allgemeiner Menschenrechte, die in dem gemeinsamen Character der Ebenbildlichkeit Gottes gegrundet sind, erst durch das Christenthum zum Bewusstsein gebracht werden, wahrend jeder andere Eifer fur politische Freiheit als ein mehr oder weniger selbstsuchtiger and beschrankter sich erwiesen hat.—NEANDER, Pref. to Uhden's Wilberforce, p. v. The rights of individuals and the justice due to them are as dear and precious as those of states; indeed the latter are founded on the former, and the great end and object of them must be to secure and support the rights of individuals, or else vain is government.—CUSHING, in CONWAY, Life of Paine, i. 217. As it is owned the whole scheme of Scripture is not yet understood; so, if it ever comes to be understood, before the restitution of all things, and without miraculous interpositions, it must be in the same way as natural knowledge is come at—by the continuance and progress of learning and liberty.—BUTLER, Analogy, ii. 3
#33 Comme les lois elles-memes sont faillibles, et qu'il peut y avoir une autre justice que la justice ecrite, les societes modernes ont voulu garantir les droits de la conscience a la poursuite d'une justice meilleure que celle qui existe; et la est le fondement de ce qu'on appelle liberte de conscience, liberte d'ecrire, liberte de pensee.—JANET, Philosophie Contemporaine, 308. Si la force materielle a toujours fini par ceder a l'opinion, combien plus ne sera-t-elle pas contrainte de ceder a la conscience? Car la conscience, c'est l'opinion renforcee par le sentiment de l'obligation.—VINET, Liberte Religieuse, 3
#34 Apres la volonte d'un homme, la raison d'etat; apres la raison d'etat, la religion, apres la religion, la liberte. Voila toute la philosophie de l'histoire.—FLOTTES, La Souverainete du Peuple, 1851, 192. La repartition plus egale des biens et des droits dans ce monde est le plus grand objet que doivent se proposer ceux qui menent les affaires humaines. Je veux seulement que l'egalite en politique consiste a etre egalement libre.—TOCQUEVILLE, 10th September 1856. Mme. Swetchine, i. 455. On peut concevoir une legislation tres simple, lorsqu'on voudra en ecarter tout ce qui est arbitraire, ne consulter que les deux premiere lois de la liberte et de la propriete, et ne point admettre de lois positives qui ne tirent leur raison de ces deux lois souveraines de la justice essentielle et absolue. LETROSNE, Vues sur la Justice Criminelle, 16. Summa enim libertas est, ad optimum recta ratione cogi.—Nemo optat sibi hanc libertatem, volendi quae velit, sed potius volendi optima.—LEIBNIZ, De Fato. TRENDELENBURG, Beitrage sur Philosophie, ii. 190.
#35 All the world is, by the very law of its creation, in eternal progress; and the cause of all the evils of the world may be traced to that natural, but most deadly error of human indolence and corruption, that our business is to preserve and not to improve.—ARNOLD, Life, i. 259. In whatever state of knowledge we may conceive man to be placed, his progress towards a yet higher state need never fear a check, but must continue till the last existence of society.—HERSCHEL, Prel. Dis. 360. It is in the development of thought as in every other development; the present suffers from the past, and the future struggles hard in escaping from the present.—MAX MULLER, Science of Thought, 617. Most of the great positive evils of the world are in themselves removable, and will, if human affairs continue to improve, be in the end reduced within narrow limits. Poverty in any sense implying suffering may be completely extinguished by the wisdom of society combined with the good sense and providence of individuals.— All the grand sources, in short, of human suffering are in a great degree, many of them almost entirely, conquerable by human care and effort. J. S. MILL, Utilitarianism, 21, 22. The ultimate standard of worth is personal worth, and the only progress that is worth striving after, the only acquisition that is truly good and enduring, is the growth of the soul—BIXBY, Crisis of Morals, 210. La science, et l'industrie qu'elle produit, ont, parmi tous les autres enfants du genie de l'homme, ce privilege particulier, que leur vol non-seulement ne peut pas s'interrompre, mais qu'il s'accelere sans cesse.—CUVIER, Discours sur la Marche des Sciences, 24 Avril 1816. Aucune idee parmi celles qui se referent a l'ordre des faits naturels, ne tient de plus pres a la famille des idees religieuses que l'idee du progres, et n'est plus propre a devenir le principe d'une sorte de foi religieuse pour ceux qui n'en ont pas d'autres. Elle a, comme la foi religieuse, la vertu de relever les ames et les caracteres.—COURNOT, Marche des Idees, ii. 425. Dans le spectacle de l'humanite errante, souffrante et travaillant toujours a mieux voir, a mieux penser, a mieux agir, a diminuer l'infirmite de l'etre human, a apaiser l'inquietude de son coeur, la science decouvre une direction et un progres.—A. SOREL, Discours de Reception, 14. Le jeune homme qui commence son education quinze ans apres son pere, a une epoque ou celui-ci, engage dans une profession speciale et active, ne peut que suivre les anciens principes, acquiert une superiorite theorique dont on doit tenir compte dans la hierarchie sociale. Le plus souvent le pere n'est-il pas penetre de l'esprit de routine, tandis que le fils represente et defend la science progressive? En diminuant l'ecart qui existait entre l'influence des jeunes generations et celle de la vieillesse ou de l'age mur, les peuples modernes n'auraient donc fait que reproduire dans leur ordre social un changement de rapports qui s'etait deja accompli dans la nature intime des choses.—BOUTMY, Revue Nationale, xxi. 393. Il y a dans l'homme individuel des principes de progres viager; il y a, en toute societe, des causes constantes qui transforment ce progres viager en progres hereditaire. Une societe quelconque tend a progresser tant que les circonstances ne touchent pas aux causes de progres que nous avons reconnues, l'imitation des devanciers par les successeurs, des etrangers par les indigenes.— LACOMBE, L'Histoire comme Science, 292. Veram creatae mentis beatitudinem consistere in non impedito progressu ad bona majora. —LEIBNIZ to WOLF, 21st February 1705. In cumulum etiam pulchritudinis perfectionisque universalis operum divinorum progresses quidam perpetuus liberrimusque totius universi est agnoscendus, ita ut ad majorem semper cultum procedat.—LEIBNIZ ed. Erdmann, 150a. Der Creaturen and also auch unsere Vollkommenheit bestehen in einem ungehinderten starken Forttrieb zu neuen and neuen Vollkommenheiten. —LEIBNIZ, Deutsche Schriften, ii. 36. Hegel, welcher annahm, der Fortschritt der Neuzeit gegen das Mittelalter sei dieser, dass die Principien der Tugend and den Christenthums, welche im Mittelalter sich allein im Privatleben and der Kirche zur Geltung gebracht hatten, nun auch anfingen, das politische Leben zu durchdringen.—FORTLAGE, Allg. Monatsschrift, 1853, 7. Wir Slawen wissen, das die Geister einzelner Menschen and ganzer Volker sich nur durch die Stufe ihrer Entwicklung unterscheiden.—MICKIEWICZ, Slawische Literatur, ii. 436. Le progres ne disparait jamais, mais il se deplace souvent. Il va den gouvernants aux gouvernes. La tendance des revolutions est de le ramener toujours parmi les gouvernants. Lorsqu'il est a la tete den societes, il marche hardiment, car il conduit. Lorsqu'il est dans la masse, il marche a pas lents, car il lutte.—NAPOLEON III., Des Idees Napoleoniennes. La loi du progres avait jadis l'inexorable rigueur du destin; elle prend maintenant de jour en jour la douce puissance de la Providence. C'est l'erreur, c'est l'iniquite, c'est le vice, que la civilisation tend a emporter dans sa marche irresistible; mais la vie des individus et des peuples est devenue pour elle une chose sacree. Elle transforme plutot qu'elle ne detruit les choses qui s'opposent a son developpement; elle procede par absorption graduelle plutot que par brusque execution; elle aime a conquerir par l'influence den idees plutot que par la force des armes, un peuple, une classe, une institution qui resiste an progres.— VACHEROT, Essais de Philosophie Critique, 443. Peu a peu l'homme intellectuel finit par effacer l'homme physique.—QUETELET, De l'Homme, ii. 285, In dem Fortschritt der ethischen Anschauungen liegt daher der Kern den geschichtlichen Fortschritts uberhaupt.—SCHAFER, Arbeitsgebiet der Geschichte, 24. Si l'homme a plus de devoirs a mesure qu'il avance en age, ce qui est melancolique, mais ce qui est vrai, de meme aussi l'humanite est tenue d'avoir une morale plus severe a mesure qu'elle prend plus de siecles.—FAGUET, Revue des Deux Mondes, 1894, iii. 871. Si donc il y a une loi de progres, elle se confond avec la loi morale, et la condition fondamentale du progres, c'est la pratique de cette loi.—CARRAU, Ib. 1875, v. 585. L'idee du progres, du developpement, me parait etre l'idee fondamentale continue sous le mot de civilisation.—GUIZOT, Cours d'Histoire, 1828, 15. Le progres n'est sous un autre nom, que la liberte en action.—BROGLIE, Journal den Debats, 28th January 1869. Le progres social est continu. Il a ses periodes de fievre ou d'atonie, de surexcitation ou de lethargie; il a ses soubresauts et ses haltes, mais il avance toujours.—DE DECKER, La Providence, 174. Ce n'est pas au bonheur seul, c'est au perfectionnement que notre destin nous appelle; et la liberte politique est le plus puissant, le plus energique moyen de perfectionnement que le ciel nous ait donne.—B. CONSTANT, Cours de Politique, ii. 559. To explode error, on whichever side it lies, is certainly to secure progress.—MARTINEAU, Essays, i. 114. Die sammtlichen Freiheitsrechte, welche der heutigen Menschheit so theuer sind, sind im Grunde nur Anwendungen den Rechts der Entwickelung. —BLUNTSCHLI, Kleine Schriften, i. 51. Geistiges Leben ist auf Freiheit beruhende Entwicklung, mit Freiheit vollzogene That and geschichtlicher Fortschritt.—Munchner Gel. Azeigen, 1849, ii. 83. Wie das Denken erst nach and nach reift, so wird auch der freie Wille nicht fertig geboren, sondern in der Entwickelung erworben.— TRENDELENBURG, Logische Untersuchungen, ii. 94. Das Liberum Arbitrium im vollen Sinne (die vollstandig aktuelle Macht der Selbstbestimmung) lasst sich seinem Begriff zufolge schlechterdings nicht unmittelbar geben; es kann nur erworben werden durch das Subjekt selbst, in sich moralisch hervorgebracht werden kraft seiner eigenen Entwickelung.— ROTHE, Ethik, I. 360. So gewaltig sei der Andrang der Erfindungen and Entdeckungen, dass "Entwicklungsperioden, die in fruheren Zeiten erst in Jahrhunderten durchlaufen warden, die im Beginn unserer Zeitperiode noch der Jahrzehnte bedurften, sich heute in Jahren vollenden, haufig schon in voller Ausbildung ins Dasein treten."—PHILIPPOVICH, Fortschritt and Kulturentwicklung, 1892, i., quoting SIEMENS, 1886. Wir erkennen dass dem Menschen die schwere korperliche Arbeit, von der er in seinem Kampfe um's Dasein stets schwer niedergedruckt war and grossenteils noch ist, mehr and mehr deurch die wachsende Benutzung der Naturkrafte zur mechanischen Arbeitsleistung abgenommen wird, dass die ihm zufallende Arbeit immer mehr eine intellektuelle wird.—SIEMENS, 1886, Ib. 6.
#36 Once, however, he wrote:—Darin konnte man den idealen Kern der Geschichte des menschlichen Geschlechtes uberhaupt sehen, dass in den Kampfen, die sich in den gegenseitigen Interessen der Staaten und Volker vollziehen, doch immer hohere Potenzen emporkommen, die das Allgemeine demgemass umgestalten and ihm wieder einen anderen Charakter verleihen.—RANKE, Weltgeschichte, iii. 1, 6.
#37 Toujours et partout, les hommes furent de plus en plus domines par l'ensemble de leurs predecesseurs, dont ils purent seulement modifier l'empire necessaire.—COMTE, Politique Positive, iii. 621.
#38 La liberte est l'ame du commerce—Il faut laisser faire les hommes qui s'appliquent sans peine a ce qui convient le mieux; c'est ce qui apporte le plus d'avantage.—COLBERT, in Comptes Rendus de l'Institut, xxxix. 93.
#39 Il n'y a que les chosen humaines exposees dans leur verite, c'est-a-dire avec leur grandeur, leur variete, leur inepuisable fecondite, qui aient le droit de retenir le lecteur et qui le retiennent en effet. Si l'ecrivain parait une fois, il ennuie ou fait sourire de pitie les lecteurs serieux.—THIERS to STE. BEUVE, Lundis, iii. 195. Comme l'a dit Taine, la disparition du style, c'est la perfection du style.—FAGUET, Revue Politique, lii. 67.
#40 Ne m'applaudissez pas; ce n'est pas moi qui vous parle; c'est l'histoire qui parle par ma bouche.—Revue Historique, xli. 278.
#41 Das Evangelium trat als Geschichte in die Welt, nicht als Dogma—wurde als Geschichte in der christlichen Kirche deponirt.—ROTHE, Kirchengeschichte, ii. p. x. Das Christenthum ist nicht der Herr Christus, sondern dieser macht es. Es ist sein Werk, undzwar ein Werk, das er stets unter der Arbeit hat.—Er selbst, Christus der Herr, bleibt, der er ist in alle Zukunft, dagegen liegt es ausdruchlich im Begriffe seines Werks, den Christenthums, dass es nicht so bleibt, wie es anhebt.—ROTHE, Allgemeine kirchliche Zeitschrift, 1864, 299. Diess Werk, weil es dem Wesen der Geschichte zufolge eine Entwickelung ist, muss uber Stufen hinweggehen, die einander ablosen, und von denen jede folgende neue immer nur unter der Zertrummerung der ihr vorangehenden Platz greifen kann.—ROTHE, Ib. 19th April 1865. Je grosser ein geschichtliches Princip ist, desto langsamer and uber mehr Stufen hinweg entfaltet es seinen Gehalt; desto langlebiger ist es aber ebendeshalb auch in diesen seinen unaufhorlichen Abwandelungen.—ROTHE, Stille Stunden, 301. Der christliche Glaube geht nicht von der Anerkennung abstracter Lehrwahrheiten aus, sondern von der Anerkennung einer Reihe von Thatsachen, die in der Erscheinung Jesu ihren Mittelpunkt haben.—NITZSCH, Dogmengeschichte, i. 17. Der Gedankengang der evangelischen Erzahlung gibt datum auch eine vollstandige Darstellung der christlichen Lehre in ihren wesentlichen Grundzugen; aber er gibt sie im allseitigen lebendigen Zusammenhange mit der Geschichte der christlichen Offenbarung, und nicht in einer theoretisch zusammenhangenden Folgenreihe von ethischen und dogmatischen Lehrsatzen.—DEUTINGER, Reich Gottes, i. p. v.
#42 L'Univers ne doit pas estre considere seulement dans ce qu'il est; pour le bien connoitre, il faut le voir aussi dans ce qu'il doit estre. C'est cet avenir surtout qui a ete le grand objet de Dieu dans la creation, et c'est pour cet avenir seul que le present existe.— D'HOUTEVILLE, Essai sur la Providence, 273. La Providence emploie les siecles a elever toujours un plus grand nombre de familles et d'individus a ces biens de la liberte et de l'egalite legitimes que, dans l'enfance des societes, la force avait rendus le privilege de quelques-uns.—GUIZOT, Gouvernement de la France, 1820, 9. La marche de la Providence n'est pas assujettie a d'etroites limites; elle ne s'inquiete pas de tirer aujourd'hui la consequence du principe qu'elle a pose hier; elle la tirera dans des siecles, quand l'heure sera venue; et pour raisonner lentement selon nous, sa logique n'est pas moins sure.—GUIZOT, Histoire de la Civilisation, 20. Der Keim fortschreitender Entwicklung ist, auch auf gottlichem Geheisse, der Menschheit eingepflanzt. Die Weltgeschichte ist der blosse Ausdruck einer vorbestimmten Entwicklung.—A. HUMBOLET, 2nd January 1842, Im Neuen Reich, 1872, i. 197. Das historisch grosse ist religios gross; es ist die Gottheit selbst, die sich offenbart.—RAUMER. April 1807, Erinnerungen, i. 85
#43: Je suis arrive a l'age ou je suis, a travers bien den evenements differents, mais avec une seule cause, celle de la liberte reguliere. —TOCQUEVILLE, 1st May 1852, OEuvres Inedites, ii. 185. Me trouvant dans un pays ou la religion et le liberalisme sont d'accord, j'avais respire.—J'exprimais ce sentiment, il y a plus de vingt ans, dans l'avant-propos de la Democratie. Je l'eprouve aujourd'hui aussi vivement que si j'etais encore jeune, et je ne sais s'il y a une seule pensee qui ait ete plus constamment presente a mon esprit.—5th August 1857, OEuvres, vi. 395. Il n'y a que la liberte (j'entends la moderee et la reguliere) et la religion, qui, par un effort combine, puissent soulever les hommes au-dessus du bourbier ou l'egalite democratique les plonge naturellement.—1st December 1852, OEuvres, vii. 295. L'un de mes reves, le principal en entrant dans la vie politique, etait de travailler a concilier l'esprit liberal et l'esprit de religion, la societe nouvelle et l'eglise.—15th November 1843, OEuvres Inedites, ii. 121. La veritable grandeur de l'homme n'est que dans l'accord du sentiment liberal et du sentiment religieux.—17th September 1853, OEuvres Inedites, ii. 228. Qui cherche dans la liberte autre chose qu'elle-meme est fait pour servir.—Ancien Regime, 248. Je regarde, ainsi que je l'ai toujours fait, la liberte comme le premier des biens; je vois toujours en elle l'une den sources les plus fecondes den vertus males et des actions grandes. Il n'y a pas de tranquillite ni de bien-etre qui puisse me tenir lieu d'elle.—7th January 1856, Mme. Swetchine, i. 452. La liberte a un faux air d'aristocratie; en donnant pleine carriere aux facultes humaines, en encourageant le travail et l'economie, elle fait ressortir les superiorites naturelles on acquises.—LABOULAYE, L'Etat et ses Limites, 154. Dire que la liberte n'est point par elle-meme, qu'elle depend d'une situation, d'une opportunite, c'est lui assigner one valeur negative. La liberte n'est pas des qu'on la subordonne. Elle n'est pas un principe purement negatif, un simple element de controle et de critique. Elle est le principe actif, createur organisateur par excellence. Elle est le moteur et la regle, la source de toute vie, et le principe de l'ordre. Elle est, en un mot, le nom que prend la conscience souveraine, lorsque, se posant en face du monde social et politique, elle emerge du moi pour modeler les societes sur les donnees de la raison.—BRISSON, Revue Nationale, xxiii. 214. Le droit, dans l'histoire, est le developpement progressif de la liberte, sous la loi de la raison.—LERMINIER, Philosophie du droit, i. 211. En prouvant par les lecons de l'histoire que la liberte fait vivre les peoples et que le despotisme les tue, en montrant que l'expiation suit la faute et que la fortune finit d'ordinaire par se ranger du cote de la vertu, Montesquieu n'est ni moins moral ni moins religieux que Bossuet.— LABOULAYE, OEuvres de Montesquieu, ii. 109. Je ne comprendrais pas qu'une nation ne placat pas les libertes politiques au premier rang, parce que c'est des libertes politiques que doivent decouler toutes les autres.—THIERS, Discours, x. 8, 28th March 1865. Nous sommes arrives a une epoque our la liberte est le but serieux de tous, ou le rester n'est plus qu'une question de moyens.—J. LEBEAU, Observations sur le Pouvoir Royal: Liege, 1830, p. 10. Le liberalisme, ayant la pretention de se fonder uniquement sur les principes de la raison, croit d'ordinaire n'avoir pas besoin de tradition. La est son erreur. L'erreur de l'ecole liberale est d'avoir trop cru qu'il est facile de creer la liberte par la reflexion, et de n'avoir pas vu qu'un etablissement n'est solide que quand il a des racines historiques. —RENAN, 1858, Nouvelle Revue, lxxix. 596. Le respect des individus et den droits existants est autant au-dessus du bonheur de tous, qu'un interet moral surpasse un interet purement temporel.—RENAN, 1858, Ib. lxxix. 597. Die Rechte gelten nichts, wo es sich handelt um das Recht, und das Recht der Freiheit kann nie verjahren, weil es die Quelle alles Rechtes selbst ist.—C. FRANTZ, Ueber die Freiheit, 110. Wir erfahren hienieden nie die ganze Wahrheit: wir geniessen nie die ganze Freiheit.—REUSS, Reden, 56. Le gouvernement constitutionnel, comme tout gouvernement libre; presente et doit presenter un etat de lutte permanent. La liberte est la perpetuite de la lutte.—DE SERRE. BROGLIE, Nouvelles Etudes, 243. The experiment of free government is not one which can be tried once for all. Every generation must try it for itself. As each new generation starts up to the responsibilities of manhood, there is, as it were, a new launch of Liberty, and its voyage of experiment begins afresh.—WINTHROP, Addresses, 163. L'histoire perd son veritable caractere du moment que la liberte en a disparu; elle devient une sorte de physique socials. C'est l'element personnel de l'histoire qui en fait la realite.—VACHEROT, Revue des Deux Mondes, 1869, iv. 215. Demander la liberte pour soi et la refuser aux autres, c'est la definition du despotisme.—LABOULAYE, 4th December 1874. Les causes justes profitent de tout, den bonnes intentions comme des mauvaises, des calculs personnels comme den devouemens courageux, de la demence, enfin, comme de la raison.—B. CONSTANT, Les Cent Jours, ii. 29. Sie ist die Kunst, das Gute der schon weit gediehenen Civilisation zu sichern.—BALTISCH, Politische Freiheit, 9. In einem Volke, welches sich zur burgerlichen Gesellschaft, uberhaupt zum Bewusstseyn der Unendlichkeit des Freien—entwickelt hat, ist nur die constitutionelle Monarchie moglich.—HEGEL's Philosophie des Rechts, #137, Hegel und Preussen, 1841, 31. Freiheit ist das hochste Gut. Alles andere ist nur das Mittel dazu: gut falls es ein Mittel dazu ist, ubel falls es dieselbe hemmt.—FICHTE, Werke, iv. 403. You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured. For liberty ought to be the direct end of your government.—PATRICK HENRY, 1788; WIRT, Life of Henry, 272.