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to grasp the utmost number of facts, in order to deepen and strengthen the resulting generalization.
In this process the exercise of what has been called the "historic sense," costs a supreme effort on the part of the reason. This may be defined as the recognition in respect to any act or thing of the principle of historic relativity. An act is great or ignoble, good or bad, according to the ethical standard of the age in question, and not according to our own notions of right or wrong. Indeed, an act which, if done by one of our own number, we should unhesitatingly condemn, may be worthy of praise, if committed by a man of the middle ages. In history, one has little use for the terms good or great, except relatively. The student of man must ever obey the maxim, "Put yourself in his place." He must try to strip off his present environment, his personal bias, his social, religious, or political prejudice, and by a sort of mental self-translation, rehabilitate himself in the new environment.
In studying the men of other ages and conditions of life, as Sir Henry Maine has so often enjoined, we must never commit the blunder of ascribing our emotions and sentiments to them.
DISCIPLINE IN MORALS.
Rightly studied, the history of man is a first-rate teacher of ethics -a thousand fold better than the ordinary treatise on moral philosophy.
What better training in principles of conduct can be imagined than familiarity with the lives and characters of great men? To follow a soul through all its vicissitudes of pain and pleasure, failure and triumph, always viewing it as a factor in the movement of the age, cannot fail to teach the nature of moral conduct.
What a supreme privilege to sympathize in the magnanimity, the unparalleled self-restraint, the sublime patience of Hamilcar; to scrutinize the insatiable ambition, the fatal self-conceit, the inchoate, noble instincts of Pompey; to weigh the vanity and modesty, the learning and superficiality, the strength and weakness of Cicero; to trace the devious windings and sinister motives of Sulla's precocious intellect; to compare the mingled licentiousness, frank magnanimity, and profound wisdom of Julius with the cunning and artificial virtue of Augustus; to admire the constancy of Washington; and to witness that
sublimest soul struggle of all—the mighty spirit of Cromwell, as with pain and prayer he bears the burden which human liberty had imposed upon him.
Thus the student acquires a sense, an instinct for comparative ethics. Dogmatic ethics may be well enough, but the study of relative or historic ethics is indispensable to the highest moral development.
HUMANISM AND TOLERATION.
There is a most interesting result of the constant habit of viewing all things in the light of historic relativity: the development of a sentiment of generous toleration for all opinions and institutions—what the men of the Renaissance called humanism.
Surely no one will say that this sentiment is not much needed in our seething modern life; and surely a science which makes this sentiment an essential to its successful study affords a vital element of liberal education in the best sense of the word.
A whole college course does not always accomplish so much!
The spirit of that true son of the Renaissance, Pico of Mirandola, is worthy of admiration. Filled with a passionate love of men, he strove to reconcile all their great thoughts. The creation of the world as recorded in Genesis, seemed to him consistent with that of the Timaeus of Plato; and he would fain defend 900 paradoxes against all
The student should emulate the example of Coleridge, who, it is said, always approached reverently anything which he proposed to investigate, charitably presuming that it had served some useful purpose, satisfied some human need, however useless it had now become.
The wise student will learn to discriminate between men and movements. Even for Torquemada, the Scourge of the Inquisition, he will have sympathy; for, in the self-abasement and agony of spirit which preceded even his severest judgments, he will recognize a conscience, performing faithfully, according to its light, the painful duty demanded of it.
In Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Order of Jesus, he will recognize an honest man, striving to use the great instrument of the Renaissance itself-education, to stem the current of new ideas, and sustain the tottering structure of the Medieval church.
Before despising an institution, he will seek the "reason of its
being," as the French say. For example, the doctrine of divine right of kings: At first blush, the pretensions of a Charles II, or a James II. to divine attributes, seem preposterous, ludicrous. The idea of the arch libertine, Charles II.'s curing the scrofula by the laying on of hands, through the emission of virtue divine, is essentially absurd. One is apt to sympathize with William of Orange, when he petulantly dismissed the only unfortunate whom he ever "touched,” with the wish that God might give him "better health and more sense."
Yet this superstition was once reverenced by the learned scholars and divines of Christendom, and oceans of blood were shed to sanctify it. Even Sam Johnson, in his childhood, drew upon the divine virtue of good Queen Anne to cure his distemper.
But the philosophic student will not despise even this dogma, but will seek for the causes of its origin. Among the many far-reaching generalizations of Mr. Bryce, in his admirable book on the Holy Roman Empire, is that of the psychological immaturity or helplessness of the Christians of the early middle ages. They were unable to grasp the conception of a spiritual God, to be approached only in spirit. Hence they resorted to concrete intermediate forms as a material support for faith. On the one hand arose the adoration of images and saints and the whole system of Mariolotry. On the other, the Pope, who was invested with the divine attributes formerly possessed by the Roman emperor, and before him, by the Aryan herokings. The Pope became a world-priest, and vicegerent of God on earth. You know how this attribute was abused-how the Pope grasped at worldly wealth and temporal power; how, at length, when men's patience was exhausted, the little monk of Wittenberg, as the good elector of Saxony saw in his dream, reached his pen out and out, and touched the triple crown of the Pope—and it fell.
But though the Protestant world had thus destroyed the divine prerogative of popes, they were scarcely less psychologically helpless than the men of the middle ages. Luther's doctrine of "justification by faith alone," was only half comprehended. They needed a new crutch for faith; they found it in the king, who as earthly head of the church was again clothed in divinity; and Sir John Filmer in his "Patriarchia" formulated the doctrine for Christendom. Again you remember how the new divine man abused his opportunity, to oppress
and rob his subjects; and how finally Cromwell arose, and like Luther, reached out his sword and touched the head of Charles Stuart -and it was the crack of doom for the divinity of kings. Thus even the dogma of divine prerogative is seen to have satisfied the need of aryan, mediæval, and modern man, even though that need originated in human infirmity.
I might expand further on the discipline furnished by history for the imagination, or point out its advantages as a means of general culture, but I will not protract the discussion.
Allow me simply to gather into one view the substance of this argu
History deals with intellectual man. It is a comparative science and possesses a scientific method and apparatus. It is comprehensive, largely institutional, treats of organic life, and thus takes rank as a natural science.
Institutional history has two practical advantages: As a preparation for law and politics, and as affording the readiest opportunity for independent investigation, and this investigation may begin in the common school.
As a means of mental discipline, it affords a training in language in two ways: in the history of words, thus emphasizing their living character, and in the use of generalization and class-terms, logic.
It disciplines the reason in those questions which will occupy it during life. It gives breadth of view, teaches practical and comparative ethics, and, best of all, inculcates principles of humanism and generous toleration.
Whether this is sufficient to justify the exalted rank which history is taking in the order of studies, time will render a verdict.
Fellow Students: In days of old Clio, the muse of history dwelt upon Olympus and communed only with gods and heroes. We are more favored than the Greeks. The muse has come down from the mountain and now dwells among men. Let us greet her, and she will reveal those living fountains of knowledge, which will give us power as useful citizens of this great commonwealth.
THE ORGANIC ACT.
An act to aid and encourage the "Nebraska State Historical Society."
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Nebraska:
SECTION 1. That the "Nebraska State Historical Society," an organization now in existence-Robt. W. Furnas, president; James M. Woolworth and Elmer S. Dundy, vice-presidents; Samuel Aughey, secretary, and W. W. Wilson, treasurer, their associates and successors -be, and the same is hereby recognized as a state institution.
SEC. 2. That it shall be the duty of the president and secretary of said institution to make annually reports to the governor, as required by other state institutions. Said report to embrace the transactions and expenditures of the organization, together with all historical addresses, which have been or may hereafter be read before the society or furnished it as historical matter or data of the state or adjacent western regions of country.
SEC. 3. That said reports, addresses, and papers shall be published at the expense of the state, and distributed as other similar official reports, a reasonable number, to be decided by the state and society, to be furnished said society for its use and distribution.
SEC. 4. That there be and is hereby appropriated annually the sum of five hundred dollars ($500) for the use and benefit of said "Nebraska State Historical Society," to be used under the direction of its officers exclusively in defraying expenses, collecting and preserving historical matter, data, relics, for the benefit of the state. Approved February 27, A.D. 1883.