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Nevertheless, there is one sense in which poetry em- The poetry bodies as much historical truth as history itself. We ought of history.


of . to know, not only what can actually be verified as fact but what has been believed to be fact. That Romulus and Remus were suckled by a wolf, that Agamemnon sailed against Troy, that Numa was instructed in the art of kingship by the divine Egeria, that Arthur gathered a goodly fellowship of famous knights at the Round Table at Caerleon, that William Tell shot at the apple on his son's head, may, or may not, be authentic facts which will stand the test of historic criticism. But they were for ages believed to be facts. The belief in their truth helped to shape the character and the convictions of after-ages. They had therefore all the force of truths, and they deserve study just as much as facts which can be historically verified. From this point of view Sophocles is as true and profound as Thucydides; Shakespeare as true as Bacon, and Chaucer as Froissart. Schiller in his Wallenstein is as much a historian as in his Thirty Years War. Thackeray when he wrote Esmond, after taking pains to saturate his own mind with the literature, the manners, and the history of the eighteenth century, was as true a historian, as when he prepared his more Inatter-of-fact critical estimates of the lives of Addison and Steele and their contemporaries. When Ben Jonson wrote Catiline and Sejanus, or Shakespeare Julius Caesar and King John, they were historians, in even a truer sense, than if they had sought without the aid of the vivifying imagination to give a bare narrative of such facts as could stand the test of destructive criticism. Considered as a picture of real life, is not Sir Walter Scott's Marmion or Ivanhoe as true a thing as his History of Napoleon ? When the author wrote the last as mere task-work for the booksellers, he very conscien

tiously consulted his authorities, and sought to produce an orderly and connected narrative. But when he wrote Ivanhoe, he studied the manners and incidents of the age, and sought to penetrate his own fancy with a picture of its doings, and habits, and modes of thinking. We will not stop to inquire which is the more interesting production: that is a question which has long been settled. But which, for all practical purposes, is the truer book, and the more important contribution to our history ? Surely there is a higher truth than the truth of mere detail, and that is just what the compiler of annals misses, and the man of poetic genius seizes and retains. The power

To show the very age and body of the time" is a rare one; it requires not only knowledge of actual occurrences, but philosophic insight enough to distinguish between characteristic and exceptional events, and imagination enough to select and adapt the materials, and to give unity and verisimilitude to the whole picture. And it is surely as important to us, and as helpful to the studies of our pupils, to know what impression the history of an age has conveyed to a man of genius, as to know what facts a laborious compiler may have collected about it. Do not let us, then, despise the help which


1 On this point Archdeacon Hare has a pregnant remark:“The poet may choose such characters, and may bring them forward in such situations as shall be typical of the truths which he wishes to embody, whereas the historian is tied down to particular actions, most of them performed officially, and rarely such as display much of character unless in moments of exaggerated vehemence. Indeed, many histories give you little else than a narrative of military affairs, marches and counter-marches, skirmishes, and battles, which, except during some great crisis of a truly national war, afford about as complete a picture of a nation's life as an account of the doses of

Dangers of merely picturesque teaching 389

poets and even novelists can afford us in history. They appeal, in a way in which no mere historian can, to the imagination of children, and to that love of pictures and of dramatic incident, which is so strong in early youth. If judiciously and occasionally used, they make the story of the past a more real, living thing, and they may do much to increase the interest and pleasure which is felt by pupils in historical study.

And so it will be seen that of the two modes of teach- Dangers of ing history; that which relies mainly on the dry bones of a relying,

on picture text-book and that which seeks to clothe these bones

resque with flesh and blood, and give to them vivid and pictu- teaching

only. resque reality, I greatly prefer the second. But we inust not be insensible to the faults of this method if it is pursued alone. It may easily become loose and desultory, it is apt simply to awaken interest and animation, without taking means to secure that this interest serves a real educational purpose. We have before shewn that picturesque teaching sometimes leads the pupil to mistake interesting general impressions for real knowledge; and worst of all that it encourages him to indulge in sweeping historical generalization without knowing accurately the data on which it is founded. All this should be known and guarded against. It can only be effectually prevented by localizing each fact as it is learned in your Time-map, and by building up a fabric of dates, names, Acts of Parliament and other details, which will sustain and justify the historical impressions you wish to convey.

Keeping this in view, you may be well content to set before yourself, as the main object in teaching History, the kindling of a strong interest in the subject, rather than the covering of a large area of mere information. physic a man may have taken, and the surgical operations he may have undergone, would be of the life of an individual.”

ment and

For if you do the second and not the first, your pupil will not be likely to pursue the subject for himself. But if you do the first and not the second, all the rest may be safely left to his own discretion and reading. History we may observe is the one subject of school instruction in which your pupil can do best without your aid, and which when you have once kindled an appetite for it, you may most safely drop out of your regular

course, and leave to take care of itself. Lessons on Lastly, I would urge upon you the importance of the govern.

lessons on the government and constitution under which constitu- we live. It is absurd to find children knowing about tion of England,

the Heptarchy and the Feudal System, and yet not knowing how our present Parliament is constituted, and what are its duties and functions. Not unfrequently I find in examining candidates for the public service students who really possess a good deal of book-knowledge about the Constitutions of Clarendon and the Act of Settlement, shewing lamentable ignorance as to the way in which laws are made at this moment; telling me e.g. that all Acts of Parliament originate with the Commons and

must go to the Upper House for sanction. Lessons on In giving a series of special lessons on our laws and the duties as well as

constitution you will not be content with Hallam and the rights Creasy and the constitutionalists who seem to think of citizen

that the whole of the History of England resolves itself into a struggle between Crown and people, and into the gradual assertion of the right of representation, and of what Carlyle cynically describes as the ‘liberty to tax oneself.' That indeed is a very important part of English History but it is not the whole, The removal of the impediments to printing and to the diffusion of knowledge; the history of Slavery and of its abolition; the gradual disappearance of religious The training of the citizen.



disabilities, economic and commercial reform, the imposition and working of the Poor Law; the provision for National Education in the form of ancient endowments, and afterwards by public grants; the reform of the representation; the growth of literature, the extension of our Colonies—all these subjects deserve to be looked at separately, and to furnish the material for special lessons in the lecture form. Indeed I am disposed to recommend that concurrently with the study of history by periods, you should arrange a series of lessons, according to subjects, on this wise :

The Crown and its prerogatives. Taxes.
The House of Lords.

A general election.
The House of Commons.

Treason. The history and progress of an Act The Army. of Parliament.

The Navy. Ministers.

The Civil Service. Judges.

Public Trusts. Magistrates.

The administration of towns and Municipal Corporations.

parishes. Juries.

Guardians of the poor.

Such a course, carefully prepared, and well illustrated by historical examples, will have the incidental effect of making the scholars sensible of the responsibility which will hereafter devolve upon them as members of a free community; a state which asks the voluntary services of her citizens in the administration of justice, in the management of public trusts, and in the conduct of public business. Every boy should be made to feel that unbought services will be required of him as member of parliament, magistrate, guardian or trustee, and that it will be honourable to render them. This sense of civic duty seems to me the necessary correlative to that consciousness of civic rights which Hallam and the constitutional

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