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statement from the following considerations. In the days of antiquity, style and finish and manner were considered almost tantamount, in point of importance, to substance or matter. With regard to the Greek writers—with the solitary exception of Plato, who has been the most magnificent and splendid of all bewilderers of the human mind-condensation and brevity of expression are invariable attributes of style. If brevity was considered a literary duty, when the subjects of human study were few in number, and scantily treated, it is now a question of philanthropy for a writer to be brief almost to repressiveness or reticence, at a time when the old studies of philosophy, logic, history, and mathematics have been immensely extended; and when novel but ever-widening studies of philology, chemistry, physiology, and biology are pressing imperiously but dangerously upon the overtasked nerves and brains of those modern students, that love wisdom not wisely but too well. It is upon such grounds that I would advocate the propriety of pricking from time to time a moralizing wind-bag in the first of the above works; of subjecting to a course of Banting the entirety of the second; and of tapping the third, which is obviously in a far-gone condition of dropsy.

Before closing these desultory remarks on the subject of history, while I would earnestly advocate, especially for educational ends, greater use of biography and storytelling, and lesser doses of moral and political discussion, I would fain record my debt of gratitude to certain great, but unconscious or incidental historians; to the writers of the Last of the Barons ; of Quentin

Durward ; The Three Musketeers ; of Lionel Lincoln ;
Barnaby Rudge; and, last and greatest and sweetest
and strangest book of all, the Life and Adventures of
Harry Esmond.

After fault-finding with historians, and recommending the works of biographers and novelists, I would now venture somewhat paradoxically to state that the study of history might to a very great extent be assisted, simplified, and illustrated by the photographer. At all events, if I were called on to deliver prelections on history, ancient and modern, in a great educational establishment, and were supplied with the requisite funds to carry out my designs, I should select some large room or dining-hall for my lecture-room, and should cover its walls up to a reasonable height with well-executed fac-similes of the attainable portraits of great men and memorable women; of the paintings by great artists that represent historic incidents of importance; and of such paintings as would illustrate the various schools of Florence, Venice, Spain, Flanders, France, and Britain ; and I would have them arranged in groups to illustrate a century or an epoch; and I would also have representations of great works of architecture and sculpture depicted on the walls; and in my chronological lines of monarchs I would only supply: portraits for such monarchs as had been real kings and queens; and the places of the make-believe ones would be sufficiently supplied by printed names ; and before delivering a prelection I should read as much and as widely as time would permit; and in delivering a prelection I should make it as short as I possibly

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could, without rendering it incomplete and obscure : and I should expect that my pupils would be saved the annoyance of listening to much twaddle from myself, and the trouble of wading through much unnecessary talk-talkee in the voluminous works of others, by the pictorial aids that would decorate beautifully and usefully the walls of my Museum of History.



HE old-fashioned and time-honoured belief

was that the human race was steadily degenerating ; that by some contradictious

philosopher's-stone an age of gold had been transmuted into consecutive ages of silver, brass, and iron; and that through the iron stage the generation for the time being was journeying surely, and not slowly, to the devil. Of late years it has, unhappily, been the fashion to turn topsy-turvy this and every other reasonable and comforting old doctrine. Vain efforts have been made to overturn grey, venerable structures of belief with the puny levers of argument and arithmetic. Dull savants have cavilled at the brief duration of the creation-week, and measured the capacity of Omnipotence with the ell-wand of a prose philosophy. Adam, and Eve, and Paradise, and the terrible Apple-tree, have been allegorized away into a mirage of unprofitable doubt : piratical scoundrels have

scuttled poor Noah's ark, after making the patriarch and family walk the plank, with their long coats on: commentators, regardless of good manners, have taken the words out of the mouth of Balaam's ass. Shallow thinkers or partial observers now assure us that humanity is continuously advancing towards perfection. A ridiculous and impertinent doctrine, that preaches down our grandfathers, and preaches up our grandchildren. Leave these latter alone : they will be conceited enough without any help of ours. Besides, is there not a tide in the affairs of men and nations ? Assuredly; for humanity is an ocean, that for ever ebbs and flows, and ebbs again ; and not a monotonous river running ceaselessly one way. There is a periodicity in the fortunes and conditions of individuals and peoples, like as in the movements of the planets and planetary systems : fashions in dress, that are new to-day, died of old age some centuries ago : opinions, and theories, of science, philosophy, government, and religion, move, like stormwinds, in spiral curves.

The doctrine of progress is to many minds associated, most erroneously, with a belief in God's providence; he that upholds the delusive theory is described as having faith in the future of humanity; and scepticism upon the point, instead of being regarded as a fair mental condition, is considered almost tantamount to moral obliquity.

At first sight it would appear a superfluous task, and perhaps a cruelty, to disturb a belief so fraught with pleasurable self-satisfaction to the believer. Indeed, it were advisable in this case, as in others, to leave well alone, but for a somewhat singular and paradoxical consideration. The doctrine of progress is productive of self-conceit; and self-conceit is the great enemy of progress ; consequently, he that preaches the said doctrine is exerting himself to prevent its realization; and whoso attempts to demonstrate that humanity is not improving, is trying unwittingly to benefit his species, and give the lie to his own demonstration : in either case the arguer is putting a cog to the wheel of his own argument, and proving, perhaps unnecessarily, the futility of dialectics.

The great features of modern times are scientific curiosity, and the application of science to practical usage. But science is conversant only with knowledge ; and knowledge differs from, and is far inferior to, wisdom. Knowledge is a post-natal acquisition; it is generated and increased by the accumulation of facts, and the observation of outward things ; we can trace and measure its growth from season to season, as in a building we see the foundation laid, and stone put upon stone, and chamber beside chamber. Wisdom is more mysterious and subtle in its birth and growth. It can no more proceed out of a defective brain than a tree can rise out of unwholesome soil ; yet it is as little independent of outward observation as is a tree of light and air. Its growth is imperceptible; when once it sets in, it is difficult to impede, and impossible to hasten it. Knowledge may be made to resemble wisdom very closely, as a chemist may compose a mixture to resemble wine. But as in old wine there is a certain aroma that time alone can give, that baffles science and


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