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such special investigations may be worse than no investigation at all.
To these general considerations as to fields may be added something, as to motives of study. The scholar may indeed find his motive for any special study in curiosity, or pride, or the desire to strengthen himself in his profession, or to exalt the fame of his neighborhood or country. Out of such motives indeed good things may grow, and there may come to these growths a beautiful bloom and fruitage; but even the best of these must be special and partial. The great, deep ground out of which large historical studies may grow is the ethical ground, the simple ethical necessity for the perfecting, first, of man as man, and, secondly, of man as a member of society; or, in other words, the necessity for the development of humanity on the one hand and society on the other. Hence it would appear that, precious as special investigations may be, most precious of all is that synthesis made by enlightened men looking over large fields, in the light of the best results of special historical research, to show us through what cycles of birth, growth, and decay various nations have passed; what laws of development may be fairly considered as ascertained, and under these what laws of religious, moral, intellectual, social, and political health or disease; what developments have been good, aiding in the evolution of that which is best in man and in society; what developments have been evil, tending to the retrogression of man and society; how various nations have stumbled and fallen into fearful errors, and by what processes they have been brought out of those errors; how much the mass of men as a whole, acting upon each. other in accordance with the general laws of development in animate nature, have tended to perfect man and society; and how much certain individual minds, which have risen either as the result of thought in their time, or in spite of it,-in defiance of any law which we can formulatehave contributed toward this evolution. Here as to results we have the verification of that pithy line of Publius Syrus: “Discipulus est prioris posterior dics."
This study of history, either as a whole or in large parts, is of vast value both as supplying the method and the test of special studies on the one hand, and of meeting the
highest necessities of man on the other. We may indeed consider it as the trunk of which special histories and biographies are the living branches, giving to them and receiving from them growth and symmetry, drawing life from them, sending life into them.
That such a connection between general and special investigation, between critical analysis of phenomena on the one hand and synthesis of results on the other, is not a theory, but a pregnant fact, can be easily seen by a glance over the historical work going on in our own time.
Take first France. The large treatment in Bossuet's “Universal History,” in Voltaire's “Essai sur les Mours,” and in the essays of Condorcet and Turgot, was the cause and, to some extent, the result of a remarkable growth of special histories in the last century. The great philosophical treatise of Guizot upon the history of civilization in Europe, the monumental work of Professor Laurent, of Ghent, upon the history of humanity traced along the lines of international law, and the works of Daunou, Roux-Ferrand, Michelet, and Henri Martin, have been causes and results of a great new growth of special historical investigation in this century. There is no time here to dwell upon individuals, but I may at least mention the works of Thierry, Mignet, Quinet, and Lanfrey, as examples of precious special histories which would never have been written save in the light of these general philosophical histories. If it be said that Thiers is an exception to the rule, I answer that his career is but a proof of it, and that the reason why he has been the most pernicious special pleader among French historians and the greatest architect of ruin among modern French statesmen, may be found in his distinct denial of any philosophical basis of history whatever.
Take next England. We see such masterpieces of general historical work as those of Gibbon and Robertson in the last century, and Grote, Buckle, Whewell, and Lecky in this, acting powerfully both as causes and results of special histories.
Take next our own country. The works of Bancroft and Hildreth, the “History of International Law" by Henry Wheaton, fragmentary lectures of President Dew of William and Mary College, the introductory chapters
of Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella and Motley's Dutch Republic, the “History of the Intellectual Development of Europe" by Draper-warped though it is by his view of the analogy between national and individual development-and such recent works as those of Lea, Charles Kendall Adams, McMaster, Coit Tyler, Lodge, Parkman, and others, with the work now going on at Cambridge, the State Universities of Michigan and Wisconsin, Johns Hopkins and Cornell Universities, show this same law in full force.
And if we go to fields more remote, we find in Italy the great philosophical generalization of Vico working down through the writings of Sismondi, Colletta, Villari, Cantù, Bonghi, Settembrini, and a host of others. Even in Spain we find that Balmés, thoughtful as he is, having the thought and depth of a special pleader, stimulates men with the same defects in special fields.
But the greatest proof of all that these two growths of historical thought are vitally connected, is to be found in even the most rapid survey of the work going on in Germany. Of the vast number of special growths I have no time to present the slightest sketch; their thoroughness and extent are exemplified in the Monumenta Germaniæ as carried on by Waitz, Wattenbach, and their compeers. But the work in the study of general worldhistory, and the history of civilization has developed both as a cause and result of this special work. Of broad and philosophical treatises we have such world-histories, of different merits, as those of Leo, Schlosser, Weber, and Ranke; and, covering part of the great field but in the same general spirit, such works as those of Ranke, Mommsen, Ernst Curtius, Droysen, Giesebrecht, Gregorovius, and a multitude of others; and in histories of civilization such as those of Wachsmuth, Du Bois, Reymond, Biedermann, Carriere, Henne Am Rhyn, Kolb, Hellwald, Honegger, Grün, Lazarus, Prutz, and others,-a list extending through the whole gamut of capacity. I adduce these facts, and specially this luxuriance of growth in German general historical studies, simply to show that such general growths go with special historical study, and that however
much we do and ought to do in this country as to special investigation, an indication of healthful growth
will be found in general and synthetical work even though some of it be inadequate.
And here allow me to call your attention to the use of the term “investigation.” There appears frequently an idea that the word can be justly applied only to search into minute material facts and documents; but is it not just as true that investigation can be made into the relations and laws of facts? So, too, regarding a phrase we constantly hear, “ the advancement of knowledge." But is knowledge advanced alone by the study of minute facts and occurrences? May it not also be advanced by a study of relations and methods and of laws governing such facts and occurrences? Investigation is as truly a means to the advancement of knowledge in the hands of the philosophic historian dealing with general history, as in those of the most minute annalist dealing with some forgotten piece of diplomacy or strategy. Did it not require as much original investigation, and was not the field of knowledge as much increased, when Guizot gave us his profound and fruitful generalizations as to the laws governing and consequences flowing from national development in civilization, under the influence of one or many elements, as when Gachard discovered the facts regarding the cloister life of Charles V, or when Mr. Poole showed the connection of Manasseh Cutler with the Northwestern territorial ordinance? The two-general and special investigation-must go together. So it was in Guizot's case; so it should be in all cases.
But let us now look somewhat more closely into this matter of the investigation of historical facts, especially as to the ends sought and the qualities required. Doubtless the end sought is exact truth, and the first quality required, veracity. But then comes the question: what truth, and, veracity on what lines? Take a case.
Two men investigate the formation of one of our State constitutions. One knows little of the constitutional development of our other States, or of the nation, or of foreign countries. He gives us a plain, dry statement of the facts which he sees, which of course are mainly surface facts. He is particular to give us the dates of sessions, the names of chairmen, the heads of committees, the makers and matter of speeches. The other, of
equal veracity, knows much of the development of constitutional history in our own and other nations. He, too, gives us what he sees; and therefore he makes the fundamental facts shine through the surface annals. We have simply the difference here between the history of the birth of an American commonwealth, by a keen rural lawyeras keen, if you please, as Thiers on the one hand, and on the other by a Story, a Cooley, or a Stubbs.
Take another case. Two men investigate the history of popular government in one of our great cities–New York, perhaps. One is a careful, painstaking annalist, and nothing more. He masters the surface facts so far as they are given by chronicles of various sorts, from Stuyvesant and Governor Dongan's charter to the overthrow of Tweed and to the supremacy of Kelly. The other is just as careful and truthful, but something more. He has studied and meditated upon other cities; he has perhaps done what Ruskin insists that every true scholar ought to do—has studied the history of the five great cities of the world; has meditated upon the growth of the commercial spirit in the Italian city republics, in the Hanseatic League, and in the great English seaports; upon the growth of city factions from the days of Claudius and Milo in Rome, through the Blues and Greens in Constantinople, the Bianchi and Neri in Florence, the Remonstrants and Counter-Remonstrants in the cities of Holland, and the New York“ Halls”; upon outbursts of civic public spirit like those which produced the Parthenon at Athens, the Duomo at Florence, and the town-halls of the Netherlands; upon the good and evil tendencies of accumulated civic wealth from Crassus, Jacques Caur, and the Medici, to Peabody, and Cooper, and Vanderbilt; upon the tendencies of a civic proletary class as typified in such examples as the Marian prescriptions in Rome, the dealings of the mobs in mediæval Laon and Liege with their bishops, the Terror and Commune of Paris, the Know-Nothing riots of Philadelphia and the Draft riots of New York. Who does not see that the latter scholar will reveal masses of important facts and relations which the other can never find ?
Again, two men set out to investigate the growth of some phase of belief. Both are veracious, but one is