Thomas Arnold.

Introductory lectures on modern history, delivered in Lent term, MDCCCXLII. With the inaugural lecture delivered in December, MDCCCXLI.. online

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Online LibraryThomas ArnoldIntroductory lectures on modern history, delivered in Lent term, MDCCCXLII. With the inaugural lecture delivered in December, MDCCCXLI.. → online text (page 1 of 35)
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.^7-5 — -Arjoold.-^
Introductory^ lec-

Southern Branch
of the

University of California

Los Angeles

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ED."' jiD^







Entkeed, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845^ by
In llio Clerk's Ollice of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New York.












Ii will be seen from Dr. Arnold's prefatory note, that these Lee*
tures were printed almost exactly as they were delivered ; the datu
of the publication showing too that it was very soon after the de-
livery of them. The Lectures are altogether of an introductory
character, and it was the humble hope of the author, that in suc-
ceeding years he would be enabled to devote other courses to the
farther examination of modern history — the subject which he re-
garded as " of all others the most interesting, inasmuch as it in-
cludes all questions of the deepest interest, relating not to human
things only, but to divine." The last lecture in this volume appears
to have been delivered in the month of February, 1842, and it was
upon the 12ih of June that Dr. Arnold's sudden death took place.
The hope of future labors in modern history was not to be fulfilled,
and, in the words of his biograplier, '• the Introductory Lectures
were to be invested with the solemnity of being the last words
which he spoke in his beloved university."

The design of these Lectures cannot be better described than ty
saying that they were intended to excite a greater interest in tho
Btudy of history. Dr. Arnold's biographer thus speaks of them :

" The course was purely and in every sense of the word ' titro-
ductory.' As the design of his first residence in Oxford was not to
gain influence over the place so much as to familiarize himself with
it after his long absence ; so the object of his first lectures was not
so much to impart any historical knowledge, as to state his own
views of history, and to excite an interest in the study of it. The


Inaugural Lecture was a definition of history in general, and of
modern history in particular ; the eight following lectures were the
natural expansion of this definition ; and the statement of such
leading difficulties as he conceived a student would meet in the
study first of the external life, and then of the internal life of
nations. They were also strictly ' lectures ;' it is not an author
and his readers, but the professor and his hearers, that are brought
before us. Throughout the course, but especially in its varioua
digressions, is to be discerned his usual anxiety — in this case
almost as with a prophetic foreboding — to deliver his testimony be-
fore it was too late, on the subjects next his heart ; which often
imparts to them at once the defect and the interest of the out-
pouring of his natural conversation."

Of the spirit in which he should lecture with respect to the feel-
ings of the place, Dr. Arnold remarks, in one of his letters, " The
best rule, it seems to me, is to lecture exactly as I should write for
the world at large ; to lecture, that is, neither hostilely nor cau-
tiously, not seeking occasions of shocking men's favorite opinions,
yet neither in any way humouring them, or declining to speak the
truth, however opposed it may be to them."

While the text of these Lectures is with scrupulous fidelity pre-
served exactly as they were uttered and printed, it has seemed to
me that their interest and value might be increased by the introduc-
tion of some illustrative notes. There would indeed have beer
little need of any thing of the kind, had Arnold's life been prolonged
till his professorial labors were completed; but considering that
these Lectures have been left to us as introductory to unaccom-
plished after-courses, and that a lecturer is always under the neces-
sity of bringing his subject in each lecture within narrow limits of
time, I have thought that it was an occasion on which the addition
of editorial notes would not be inappropriate. This thought was
perhaps first suggested to my mind by the knowledge that Dr
Arnold's other works furnished passages which might be brought
into fit connection with the Lectures, and the belief that on farther
examination with this special object ir view, I should be able to
find more. My first and chief aim, therefore, in the notes I have
introduced in this edition, has been to collect such parallel passages
as would explain and illustrate the opinions and feelings which arc


presented, either by direct statement or brief intimation, in llitf

I have not however confined the notes to selections from Dr
Arnold's writings, but have brought them from various sources, as
far as I thought they would contribute to historical knowledge and
truth, without encumbering the volume. It will readily be under-
stood, that in lectures as copious as these are in historical and bio-
fifraphical allusions, the process of annotation might be carried on
to an almost indefinite extent, but I have endeavored to limit the
notes in a great measure to such as are of that suggestive character
for which the Lectures themselves are distinguished — such as
might encourage a love for the study of history and prompt to his-
torical reading. In no department of literature has there been
greater advance than in historical science during about the last
twenty years, and it is a branch of education well deserving atten-
tion, as one of the means of chastening that narrow and spurious
nationality which is no more than unsubstantial national vanity —
the substitute of ignorance and arrogance for genuine and rational
and dutiful patriotism.

In preparing this edition, I have had in view its use, not only for
the general reader, but also as a text-book in education, especially
in our college courses of study. It might be thought that this last
purpose would require the introduction of many notes of an explan-
atory kind for the information of young students ; but from such
annotation I have in a great measure forborne, and purposely, for
two reasons — because it must have become too copious in a work so
full of historical allusions, and because the volume can be an appro-
priate text-book only for advanced students, who have completed an
elementary course of history. Besides, it is my belief that many a
text-book is now-a-days overloaded with notes, to the positive in-
jury of education : such books seem to be prepared upon a pre-
sumption that they are to be taught by men who are either ignorant
or indolent, or both, and thus it is that the spirit of oral instruction
is deadened by the practice of anticipating much that should be sup-
plied by the teacher. The active intercourse between the mind
Ihat teaches and the minds that are taught, which is essential to all
true instruction, is often rendered dull by the use of books of such
description. I have therefore endeavored to make the notes in this


volume chiefly 3> ggestive, and only incidentally explanatory, and
in doing so, it is iry belief and hope that I have followed a principle
on which the Lec'ures themselves were written.

The introduction of this work as a text-book I regard as im-
portant, because, at least so far as my information entitles me to
Bpeak, there is no book better calculated to inspire an interest in
historical study. That it has this power over the minds of students
I can say from experience, which enables me also to add, that I
have found it excellently suited to a course of college instruction.
By intelligent and enterprising members of a class especially, it is
studied as a text-book with zeal and animation.

In offering thi.« volume for such use, I am not unaware of the
difficulties arising from the fact that our college courses are both
limited as to time and crowded with a considerable variety of
studies — often perhaps too great a variety for sound education.
The false academic ambition of mi»king a display of many subjects
has the inevitable effect of rendering instruction superficial in such
studies as ought to be cultivated thoroughly. I should be sorry,
therefore, to be contributing in any way to what may be regarded
as an evil and an abuse — the injurious accumulation of subjects of
study upon a course that is limited in duration. It is in order to
avoid this, that I venture here to suggest an expedient by whicli
instruction in these Lectures may be accomplished advantageously
and without embarrassment or conflict with other studies. The
student may be made well acquainted with these Lectures by the
process of making written abstracts of them, for which the work is,
as I have found, peculiarly adapted. Let me, however, fortify this
suggestion by something far more valuable than my own opinion oj
experience — the authority of Dr. Arnold himself as to the value of
the method. It m ill be found in his correspondence that he earnest Ij
advises the making of an abstract of some standard work in history :
besides the information gained, " the abstract itself," are his words.
" practises you in condensing and giving in your own words what
another has said ; a habit of great value, as it forces one to think
about it, which extracting merely does not. It farther gives a
brevity and simplicity to your language, two of the greatest merita
which style can have." This method may, it appears to me, be
made with advantage a substitute, to a considerable extent, for wh-i*



is commonly called " original composition" of young writers. It
evoids a danger which in that process has probably occurred to the
minds of most persons who have had experience and are thought-
fully engaged in that branch of education. The danger I allude to
has beer, wisely and I think not too strongly spoken of as the " im-
mense peril of introducing dishonesty into a pupil's miiid, of teach-
ing him to utter phrases which answer to nothing that is actually
within him, and do not describe any thing that he has actually seen
or imagined." {Lectures on National Education, by the Rev. Prof.
Maurice, now of King's College, London.)

A few words may be added here, for the general reader as well
as the student. In order to receive just impressions from these
Lectures it is important to bear in mind one or two of the peculiarly
prominent traits of Dr. Arnold's intellectual, or rather moral charac-
ter. The zeal to combat wrong — to withstand evil — engendered a
polemical propensity, which leads him sometimes to speak as if he
saw only evil in what may be mixed good and evil. His view of
things, therefore, is occasionally both true and false, because one-
sided and incomplete. Of chivalry, for instance, his mind appears
to have dwelt only or chiefly on the dark side — the evils and abuses
of it. ' Conservatism' was to him a symbol of evil, because he
thought of it, not as preserving what is good, but a spirit of resist-
ance to all change.

Arbitrary power, in any of its forms, was odious to the mind of
Arnold, not simply because it creates restraint and subjection, but
inasmuch as it retards or prevents improvement of faculties given
to be improved. " Half of our virtue," he exclaims, quoting Ho-
mer's lines with a bold version, " Half of our virtue is torn away
when a man becomes a slave, and the other half goes when he
becomes a slave broke loose." The solemn and impassioned
utterance of the great living poet, whom Arnold knew in personal
converse, would not be too strong to express the feeling with which
bo looked upon oppression by lawless dominion :

" Never may from our souls one truth depart —
That an accursed thing it is to gazo
On prosperous tyrants with a dazzled eye."

Liberty was prized by Arnold, not for its own sake — not as in ilsell


a good, but as a means — a condition of cultivation and impro'rement,
and it became in his eyes a worthless boon, an abused privilege
whenever not dutifully employed for the good of man and -he glory
of God.

Dr. Arnold's opinions must also often be judged of in their rela-
tive connection. " It is my nature," he says, " always to attack
that evil which seems to me most present." Accordingly, the evil
he would most strenuously condemn in one place, or time, or state
of things, might elsewhere cease to be the most dangerous, or in
deed give place to even an opposite evil. This has an important
bearing upon any application of his principles or opinions to various
political or social conditions ; but be the thoughts and words what
they may, there is assurance that they come from a man distin-
guished for that straightforwardness of purpose and of speech
which everywhere and always is a virtue —

«■ irdvTa ie vd^iov tvO<)y\<o(jaos ai'ijf -Trpofipet,

rapa Tvpavi'iSi, xiLrdrav b AajSpog arpurrfj,

X^Tav i:6\iv o'l ao(j>o\ rrjpitovTt. Pylh. II.

Having spoken of applications of Dr. Arnold's thoughts, I wish
to add, that there could be no more unworthy tribute rendered to
liim than either the careless, unreflecting adoption of his views, or
the citing his words as a sanction for opinions that may in other
minds be no more than prejudices — formed in ignorance or indif-
ference, and held without earnestness or candor. Such is not the
lesson to be learned from the character of one of whom I may say
that he could not draw a happy breath in the presence of falsehood,
and the master-passion of wliose spirit was the love of Law and of

Jn the arrangement of this volume for the press, I have placed
the notes of this edition at the end of each lecture, so that they
may not intrude at all upon the text of the lectures, which diifer it,
no other particular from the original, than merely the insertion ol
numbers for reference to the notes, and a correction of a slighl
error in a reference to an authority in Lecture VL To prevent
4ny possibility of error, let it be understood that Dr. Arnold's own
notes, few in number, are printed as foot-notes, as in the original
edition. The notes of this edition are in all cases referred to bv
numbers, and are i)laced after each lecture.


For several \aluable suggestions and references, I am indebted
to the learning and the kindness of the Rev. Professor George
Allen, of Delaware College. I mention my obligation, because
otherwise silence would bring me the self-reproach for something
like unreal display. There is a pleasure too in making such an
acknowledgment, especially when, in connection with this volume,
it is to one whose earnest scholarship is kindred to that of Arnold
himself in several respects, and chiefly in this — the not common
combination of philological accuracy with cultivation of modern
history and literature.

j£. a.

University of Pennsylvania,

rHILADCLPHIA, .9prU 2S, 1S45.

The following Lectures are printed almost exactly as
lliey were delivered. They were written with the ex-
pectation that they would be read in a room to a very
limited audience ; which may explain why the style in
some instances is more colloquial than became the circum-
stances under which they were delivered actually.

liughy, May 5th, 1842.




History often underrated.— It cannot be appreciated justly at
once.— Definition of history.— The biography of a society.
— Properly, the biography of a nation. — And hence, gene-
rally, of a government. — But not always so in reality. — A
nation's life is twofold, partly external and partly internal.
— The internal life determined by its end. — This end moral
rather than physical. — Because a nation is a sovereign
society ; and must therefore be cognizant of moral ends ;
as it controls all actions. — End of a nation's life, its highest
happiness. — This is the fruit of laws and institutions ; which
together form its constitution; executive, legislative, and
judicial. — Institutions for public instruction. — Institutions
relating to property. — Their great importance.— Instances
given : primogeniture, entails, commercial laws, &c. —
Other elements affecting national life. — Conclusion : the
greatness of history. — What constitutes modern history ? —
It treats of nations still living. — When was the English
nation bornl — National personality depends on four great
elements. — Peculiarity of modern history. — Its element of
the German race. — Spread of this race. — Is modern history
the last history^ — Why it seems likely to be so. — Impor-
tance of its being so. — Value of the lessons of history. —
Conclusion .25

(Notes ^M




Theory of the perfect state. — The supreme society must be

moral. — ^Why the moral theory is objected to. — ^What
should be the bond of societies. — Union of action rather
than of belief. — When is government national 1 — Govern-
ment speaking the voice of the nation may choose its own
national law. — Churches may infringe individual rights. —
Excommunication is a punishment. — All centralization has
its dangers. — Obedience to Christian law the way to arrive
at Christian faith. — But the end is not to be made the be-
ginning. — ^What the real difficulty of the question is. —
Agreement of the moral theory of a state with the true
theory of the church. — The one seems to require the other.
— Notice of some special objections. — The objections as-
sume as true what is condemned by high authorities. —
Confusion as to what is properly " secular." — Excommuni-
cation a secular punishment. — In what sense our Lord's
kingdom was not a kingdom of this world. — Conclusion . 64
[Notes .......... B4j


li.troductory remarks. — Contrast between ancient and modern
history. — Extreme voluminousness of modern history. —
Some one particular portion to be selected. — First study it
in a contemporary historian. — Or in those of more than one
nation. — Other authorities next to be consulted. — Advan-
tages of the university libraries. — Collections of tiei^ties to
be consulted. — Rymer's Fcedera. — Also collections of laws,
&c. — Their value to the historical student — Letters or other
writings of great men. — Miscellaneous literature. — How
such reading may be made practicable, by reading with a
view to our particular object. — And yet will not be super-
firiul. — What reading is superficial and misleading. — Re-



rnarkable example of misquotation from Moshcim's Ecclesi-
astical History. — Which quotation has inadvertently been
given by several successive writers. — Showing the danger
of quoting at second-hand. — Still a knowledge of past times
is insufficient and even incomplete in itself, without a lively
knowledge of the present. — Good effects of a knowledge of
the present, and generally of more than one period. — To
prevent our wrongly valuing one period. — Especially to
prevent us from decrying our own. — Recapitulation. — Sub-
ject of the ensuing lecture . . . . . . !il

'Notes U4]


Two periods of modern history. — Before and after the six-
teenth century. — The history of the first is simpler, of the
second more complicated. — Historians of the first period.
— Bede. — Study of language in history. — Importance of
good habits of translation. — Difference of the classical and
later Latin. — Trustworthiness of historians. — Question as to
Bede's accounts of miracles. — Difference between wonders
and miracles. — Alleged miracles by far the most difficult. —
Their external testimony defective ; and also their internal
evidence. — They are generally to be disbelieved. — Perhaps
with some exceptions. — But even if true they cannot sanc-
tion all the opinions held by those who work them. — Ques-
tions belonging to the thirteenth century. — Questions in the
study of the Chronicles. — Philip de Comines. — Advantages
of previous classical study. — Greater difficulty in the study
of the middle ages. — Importance of genealogies. — ^We must
look backwards and forwards. — Examples given. — Contest
for the throne of Naples. — Peculiar interest of the period
described by Philip de Comines. — Contrast between him
and Herodotus. — Conclusion . . . . . .11!)

[Notes . 112]




Magnitude of modern history. — Its different subjects of study.
— External history. — Geography. — Common notions of ge-
ography. — How it should be studied. — Examples of its im-
portance. — Geography of Italy. — Tendency of the last three
centuries. — Small states swallowed up by great ones. —
Excesses of this tendency. — First, Spain. — Spain dangerous
to Europe. — The Austro-Spanish power. — France danger-
ous to Europe. — Ascendency of England in 1763. — France
under Napoleon. — The dominion of Napoleon. — Its won-
derful overthrow. — These are merely external struggles;
although often mixed up with struggles of principle. — The
questions contained in them are economical and military. —
Economical questions. — Difficulty of supporting a war. —
Temptation to raise money by loans. — Evils of the borrow-
ing system. — Examples of financial difficulties in France
and in England. — Are such evils unavoidable 1 — Conclusion 147

'Notes 1701


Difficulty of speaking on others' professions. — How far it may
be done with propriety. — And where we must be ignorant.
— Whose campaigns are worth studying. — Discipline must
conquer enthusiasm. — ^Will some races always beat others ?
— Not of necessity. — Mischiefs of irregular warfare. —
Irregular warfare not justified by the accident of our coun-
try's being invaded. — Certain laws of war considered. —
Plundering a town taken by storm. — General Napier's judg-
ment on this point. — Of the right of blockade. — Siege of
Genoa in 1800. — Importance of amending bad laws. — Of
wrong done in going to war. — Suspicion begets suspicion. —
Understanding of military operations. — What leads to battles
in particular places. — Great lines of road often change.—
Changes in roads and fortresses. — Mountain warfare. —
Conclusion ... ..... 1»1

iNoTts • • 207]



Transition to internal history. — General divisions of the sub-
ject. — Question of many and few. — What is a popular party ■?
— ^Vhat is meant by the few and the many ] — What is the
good of a nation 1 — Principles intermixed with one another.
— Example of Hume. — ^What is the party of the movement 1
— Not always a popular party. — Parties changed by time. —
Example of the Guelfs and Ghibelins. — Dread of extinct
evils ; or of such as are the weaker. — Analysis of internal
history. — Period of religious movement. — Parties in Eng-
land first appear in the reign of Elizabeth. — Three parties.
— The party of the established church. — The party of the
puritans. — Party of the Romanists. — Ability of Elizabeth. —

Her great popularity 219

[Notes 244]


Church questions are often political rather than religious ,
inasmuch as they have been questions of government. —
Questions of the priesthood are religious, but were not dis-
cussed in England. — Church questions in England political,
as the church and state were one. — Yet the church ques-
tions were in form not political till the reign of James L —
Causes of the political movement. — Growth of the House
of Commons. — Its growth owing to that of the nation. —

Online LibraryThomas ArnoldIntroductory lectures on modern history, delivered in Lent term, MDCCCXLII. With the inaugural lecture delivered in December, MDCCCXLI.. → online text (page 1 of 35)