Page:The Chartist Movement.djvu/37

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xxvii
INTRODUCTION

of the study of the historian. Various doubtful amplifications and presuppositions involved in Lamprecht's teaching in no wise impair the essential truth of the broad propositions on which it is based.

Hovell's own studies of social history showed him to be predisposed to sympathy with the master. But he had never been in Germany, and his German was almost rudimentary. However, he worked up his knowledge of the tongue by acquiring from Lamprecht's own works the point of view of the great apostle of Kulturgeschichte. Accordingly by the time Hovell reached Leipzig, he had acquired the keys both of the German language and of Lamprecht's general position. He found that Lamprecht's Institute, though loosely connected with the University, was a self-contained and self-sufficing seminary for the propagation of the new historic gospel, and looked upon with some coldness and suspicion by the more conservative historical teachers. It was a wise part of the system of the Institute that certain foreign "assistants" should present the social history of their own country from the national point of view. Towards this task Hovell's contribution was to be an exposition of the social development of England in the nineteenth century, so that his Chartist studies now stood him in good stead. He was, however, profoundly convinced of the high standard required from a German University teacher, and made elaborate preparations to give a course of adequate novelty and thoroughness. Unfortunately he found that the students who gradually presented themselves were far from being specialists. They were not even anxious to become specialists, and were nearly all somewhat indifferent to his matter, looking upon the lectures and discussions as an easy means of increasing their familiarity with spoken English.

The beginning was rather an anxious time, especially when presiding over and criticising the reading of the referate, or students' exercises, which alternated with his set lectures. He was impressed with the power of his pupils to write and discuss their themes in English, though glad when increasing